What could it be?
What Is Osteoarthritis?
• Repeated movements of everyday life wear down the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones.
• Hips, knees, lower back, neck and spine, and smaller joints in fingers and big toes are affected.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis?
• You’re more likely to get osteoarthritis in your middle and later years.
• You’re more likely to get osteoarthritis if you:
– Are overweight
– Often do repetitive movements.
– Experienced an injury early in life that affected one or more joints
When to See Your Doctor or Rheumatologist
• See your doctor early. Arthritis can’t be reversed, but there are treatments to ease pain and increase or maintain mobility.
• Your doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes that could make everyday living easier for you.
• Tests like X-rays can show any damage and help guide your care plan.
• Keep moving but choose low-impact activities like walking, yoga and tai chi.
• Aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce pain and swelling. Talk to your doctor about the dosage and whether you need stronger therapies like corticosteroids.
• If stiffness or pain is severe, a brace or cane may help.
Top Lifestyle Tips
• Keep mobile with low-impact exercise.
• Ease stress on weight-bearing joints by losing weight.
• Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin may ease the pain but check with your doctor before taking them.
• Work with a physical therapist on exercises to improve range of motion, flexibility and muscle strength.
• Try ice and/or heat to soothe achy joints.