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Most people have experienced some sort of arthritis during their lifetime. Arthritis is simply any pain or irritation that happens in or around a joint. This can occur in the hand, elbow, spine, hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, or any other joint in the body.
There are several different causes of arthritis, including rheumatism, infection, and gout, but the most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis.
Although genetics can play a role in some people who develop osteoarthritis, this type of arthritis is commonly caused by excessive repetitive stress on one’s joints over time. Being overweight or obese causes prolonged pressure on weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and low back and can significantly contribute to symptoms of painful osteoarthritis.
Also, people who do not keep their muscles fit are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. This is because our joints are stabilized by the muscles that cross them and if these muscles become weak, we have less ability to protect our joints from micro and macro trauma that occurs over time. When physical therapists treat patients who complain of joint arthritis, often times one of the treatment methods is to increase the strength of the surrounding muscles of the painful joint. This adds stability to the joint structure and usually helps to decrease the patient’s pain and inflammation.
With this said, one might think that aerobic exercise like running might increase your chance of developing arthritis, because of the repetitive stress on your leg joints. But actually the opposite is true. Running does NOT cause an increase in joint arthritis, if you increase your running program gradually -after consulting your healthcare provider.
Every joint in the body can only receive adequate nutrition through joint movement. The cartilage surrounding your joints acts similar to a sponge, in that it absorbs the nutrition it needs, through compression and decompression, and this can only be done by moving your joints. Aerobic exercise, like running, is healthy for your joints and produces stabilizing muscular strength, keeping your joint structures healthy.
Constant compression on your joints, without decompression, such as with people who are overweight and obese and who do not move very often, can cause a breakdown in the cartilage surrounding your joints. Research has shown that lifestyle changes like losing weight produces better results and more lasting effects than many medications on patients with osteoarthritis. (10)