Pain, limitation of mobility, stiffness, functional disability and joint deformity. Are the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a chronic degenerative disease that affects the Articular cartilage and it has a high prevalence in Spain: 29% of the citizens of our country suffer from it.
exist two types of osteoarthritis: the primary, which appears in isolation and affects the spine, hands, knee, hip and / or big toe (the location will always depend on where the mechanical impact occurred); and the rarer secondary osteoarthritis that appears after a previous inflammatory disease.
«Articular cartilage is like a pad that prevents rubbing straight between the bones. It is very important because, if you get sick, wears out and the collision of one bone on another occurs ”, Jesús Tornero Molina, honorary president of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER) and head of the Rheumatology Service of the Guadalajara University Hospital, explains to ABC.
It is not really known why it appears, but the doctor points out that genetics play an important role, especially when it affects the fingers of the hands. «Other risk factors are age and mechanical overload. Jobs with great physical demand are related to osteoarthritis of the spine, hip and knee; while the obesity the probability of suffering knee osteoarthritis increases, ”the specialist explains.
The profile of the patient suffering from osteoarthritis is that of an elderly person, with a family history of this pathology, who performs professions that involve a lot of physical activity, or even athletes, and most often affects women.
To maintain a healthy weight and joints, in addition to following a balanced diet, Dr.Tornero recommends walking 45 minutes or an hour a day to tone up. No compulsive sports because that can also trigger osteoarthritis. “At certain ages you can do more demanding exercises, but as the years go by, the strength of the cartilage is not the same and you have to adapt the practice to age”, he advises. For example, running too many kilometers on hard surfaces or uneven terrain favors the development of osteoarthritis of the knee or toe. You should also avoid those practices that involve spending a lot of time standing or lifting excessive loads. The bicycle, however, is a good exercise for the knee and hip.
The main symptom of osteoarthritis is pain. It appears in up to 95% of cases. In the small percentage of patients who do not feel it, the first visit to the doctor occurs because they have noticed stiffness, limited mobility or deformity in some joints. Dr. Tornero warns that not all discomfort in the joint is due to osteoarthritis, but when it appears, it is necessary to consult.
Pain in this rheumatic disease occurs when the joint is moved. Rest, therefore, relieves. But if the patient spends a lot of time sitting or lying down, the muscles atrophy and that causes the joint to become unstable. There must be a balance between rest and exercise isometric. To keep osteoarthritis at bay, Dr. Tornero recommends “exercise to ensure joint function, avoid carrying weight and losing weight in cases where there is obesity. ‘ “The only thing that stops knee osteoarthritis and pain is reducing body weight,” he concludes