You judge the speed of an oncoming car before deciding whether or not to start a left turn. You consider carefully whether your skills are up to the new Humphreys Peak Quad at Arizona Snowbowl before climbing into the lift. Making choices like this help keep you safer every day, so you should calculate your risk for arthritis in the same way. Here’s a quick quiz to help:
- Are you over 50?
- Are you overweight or obese?
- Have you injured a joint in the past?
- Does your job require a lot of squatting or bending?
- Does anyone in your extended family have the disease?
The more questions you answered “yes,” the higher your risk for developing one of the debilitating forms of arthritis. Let’s take them one by one and explore why.
Aging increases your risk for wear-and-tear osteoarthritis and other forms as well. As you get older, the lining and cartilage of your bones tissues can begin to deteriorate. When bare bones rub against each other, joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation are the result. You can’t stop aging, but you can be careful not to over-traumatize your joints.
Carrying too many extra pounds stresses your feet and ankles. Even an autoimmune problem like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can become more severe with excess weight. You can lessen problems by maintaining a healthy weight, but unfortunately, women are more susceptible to RA, overweight or not.
A past injury or infection in the joint can lead to problems with pain and stiffness. Post-traumatic arthritis is a common development in sports players. Doing whatever you can to avoid infections and ankle sprains or foot fractures helps decrease your risk.
Repetitive movements make joint problems worse, so if you have a job that requires them, ask your employer for ergonomic suggestions to reduce the stress on your joints.
It is also true that some forms of arthritis run in families. It is possible, for instance, that you inherited an inability to process uric acid and are more at risk for gout. Men get this type of arthritis more often than women, and several men in the same family can be affected.If you are high risk and develop tell-tale symptoms, make an appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona sooner rather than later and start treatment early. Letting arthritis develop makes it harder to deal with later. Call our office in Chandler, AZ at (480) 963-9000, or in Gilbert at (480) 981-1800, and get expert help today.