EXCLUSIVE: World Arthritis Day 2021: Joint Check: All you need to know about arthritis

Updated on Oct 13, 2021 06:35 PM IST  |  30.5K
Causes of arthritis
Here is everything you need to know about arthritis

Swelling and redness of joints is often associated with arthritis, and that is only when one tends to think that s/he might be suffering from the disease. However, we often tend to miss or dismiss certain other subtle signs as normal, and the ones that can be cured via a cup of chai. Because why not, chai is our solution to almost everything.

However, in a disease like arthritis it is imperative that one is one their toes when it comes to looking for signs and symptoms in order to manage the disease well.

“The early-stage symptoms of arthritis don’t always include swelling and redness in the joints, but there can be subtle signs that indicate something is up. Some of them include: tenderness and pain in certain areas of your body, a noticeable increase in fatigue, since it takes energy for the body to deal with inflammation, weakness in certain areas of your body that weren’t there before, and generally feeling unwell,” says Dr Shubhang Aggarwal, Orthopaedic & Robotic Joint Replacement Surgeon & Director, NHS Hospital, Jalandhar. Some people might also feel grating or restricted movement.

knee pain

While any joint in the body may be affected by arthritis, it is particularly common in the knee. “Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs,” adds Aggarwal.

However, not every knee pain is a sign of arthritis. There can be other underlying reasons, too. “Every knee pain, of course, is not a sign of arthritis. Knee pain can also be due to muscular injury, tendinitis, ligament issues, and many other causes. But we, of course, need to have a high index of suspicion to see whether this is arthritis or not in order to eliminate any risks,” says Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder & Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals. He adds that arthritis can be caused due to several reasons, ranging from genetic to congenital, from infections to wear and tear of bones, and to injuries. 

A cause of worry is that arthritis cannot be cured permanently. Some arthritis like early osteoarthritis is reversible. Arthritis like rheumatoid is not reversible but is definitely curable or can be controlled with medication. Aggarwal says an effective arthritis treatment plan can help one manage the disease. The treatment includes:

Medications: The medications used to treat arthritis vary depending on the type of arthritis. Commonly used arthritis medications include NSAIDs, Counterirritants, Steroids and Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

medications for arthritis

Therapy: Physical therapy can be helpful for some types of arthritis. Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints. In some cases, splints or braces may be warranted.

Braces: In some cases, splints or braces may help in an acute phase.

Surgery: If conservative measures don't help, doctors may suggest surgery, such as joint replacement surgery, joint fusion or joint repair.

Lifestyle and home remedies: In many cases, arthritis symptoms can be reduced with weight loss, exercise or heating pads or ice packs.

While treatments can help, the fact that prevention is better than cure stands tall here, too.

arthritis treatment

“Stay at a healthy weight. Extra pounds put pressure on weight-bearing joints like hips and knees. Control your blood sugar. Exercise, and do stretching. Avoid injury. Quit smoking,” advises Aggarwal.

Bajaj adds and tells you that all infections, especially throat infections in children, should be quickly and urgently treated. “We should avoid certain postures like high impact exercises. Wear proper footwear while running and run on proper tracks. Impact exercises like skipping, and jumping should be done. Doing squats and sitting cross legged can lead to knee injuries and we should be very careful about them. Managing weight is also essential,” opines Bajaj.

Watch what you eat

Aggarwal lists foods that help in maintaining healthy joints.

Incorporate seasonal fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet as they are rich in antioxidants.

Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which have anthocyanins, have anti-inflammatory properties should also be consumed frequently.

One should also include vitamin C in their diet because it helps in maintaining healthy joints, thereby preventing inflammation.

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