Arthritis is a condition that can be thought of as a progressive loss of the cartilage in a joint. When two bones make up a joint, the bones can move against each other with very little friction because of the cartilage cap at the end of the bones. When arthritis develops, that cartilage cap becomes thinner over time resulting in a loss of the ability to provide that smooth surface. Arthritis can occur in almost any joint in our body and develops over time as we age. When arthritis begins, how fast it progresses is influenced by different factors including genetic factors, activity level as well occupation.
The most common symptoms that develop in an arthritic joint are pain, swelling, stiffness and inflammation. These symptoms tend to be more prevalent towards the end of day and worse on days where a lot of standing, walking or activity was done. Arthritis pain is not typically felt while you are doing the work or exercise, but more often later that same evening or the following day.
Performing more activity than you are typically used to doing is a common cause to induce an “arthritis flare”. Even minor trauma like a fall, can also cause a flare or exacerbation of the symptoms in an arthritic joint.
When to see your doctor:
If your arthritis pain is limiting you from getting back to the activities you enjoy, or even interfering with your normal daily activities and quality of life, you should see your doctor for further evaluation. Arthritis, although a progressive condition, has a large array of treatment options ranging from simple non-invasive options like injection therapy to joint replacement surgery to reduce or eliminate your pain and increase your activity level.