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Facts About Arthritis in People Over 50

October 23, 2017

When it comes to a knee specialist, residents of the Fox Valley from Oshkosh to Green Bay might consider consulting this type of doctor if they have arthritis. If you are at least 50 years old, there is some information about this condition that you need to know. When you have some knowledge about arthritis, it allows you to make better decisions and regain control of your health.

Why is Arthritis Common Over Age 50?

As you go through life, your joints work hard to keep you mobile and active. This means that they take a lot of abuse and the cartilage in the joints will wear down over time. As this happens, the joint no longer has the cushioning that it had when you were younger. Once the cartilage loses its slippery texture and hardens, osteoarthritis is diagnosed. The bones start to rub against one another. Certain risk factors can make the process of arthritis start even earlier in life or they could make the symptoms of the condition more severe:

●Being female

●You had joint injuries earlier in life

●You have a family history of early-onset osteoarthritis

●Obesity

●Certain jobs that put repetitive stress on your joints

●Bone deformities

How Does Arthritis Affect Older Adults?

When an older adult starts to experience arthritis, there are certain symptoms that are characteristic of the condition and these include:

●Tenderness even with light pressure

●Flexibility loss

●Bone spurs

●Pain

●Stiffness

●Grating sensation

 What Can a Doctor Do to Help?

 Your doctor will begin by prescribing medications to help you manage your symptoms and the inflammation. NSAID medications, acetaminophen and duloxetine are the most commonly prescribed. Occupational and physical therapy might also be helpful. In more severe instances where conservative treatments are not effective, your doctor might discuss the following with you:

●Cortisone injections

●Bone realignment

●Lubrication injections

●Joint replacement

What Can Patients Do to Enhance Their Well-Being? 

There are several things that older adults can do to both improve their arthritis symptoms and improve their total well-being. First, work with your doctor to lose excess weight since this puts more stress on your joints. Develop an exercise plan to carry out most days a week that has a low impact on your joints, such as biking, walking, or swimming. Use ice and heat to help alleviate your pain, as well as over-the-counter topical creams. Assistive devices can also be helpful, especially when the joints of the lower body are affected.

You can see that arthritis can certainly impact your life, but with the right information, you can fight back. To ensure that your joints are as healthy as possible despite your having arthritis, consult with one of the orthopedic experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley (OSI). OSI’s Appleton location includes physician clinics, an accredited surgery center, an imaging center with MRI, and a skilled nursing facility for orthopedic recovery. OSI also has convenient outreach clinics for initial consultations and follow up visits in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location at the NOVO Clinic in De Pere. OSI is a NOVO Health Center of Excellence.