“Arthritis” essentially means joint inflammation. A joint is the point where two bones come together, like in your knee or elbow.
There are numerous varieties of arthritis, each with its own causes and therapies. Certain varieties may also impact other organs, like your skin, heart, or eyes. Joint discomfort, redness, heat, and swelling are typical signs of arthritis.
In order for you to receive the appropriate therapy if you have arthritis, it is critical that your doctor determine the exact type of arthritis you have. Thankfully, most people with arthritis are able to lead active, fulfilling lives because of modern medications.
Types of Arthritis:
- Arthritis comes in several varieties. Typical ones consist of the following:
- One kind of arthritis that inflames the spine’s ligaments and joints is called ankylosing spondylitis.
- One form of arthritis that flares up is called gout, and it usually affects one’s big toe or lower limb.
- Children who suffer from chronic arthritis most often have juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
- The most prevalent kind of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is more prevalent in the elderly.
- Those who have psoriasis (scaly red and white skin spots) may also develop psoriatic arthritis. It affects the joints, skin, and the spaces where tissues and bone meet.
- Your body has an infection that is the source of your reactive arthritis. Usually, the symptoms go away on their own in a few weeks or months.
- An autoimmune kind of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s defenses target the healthy tissues in the joints.
What are the indications and symptoms of arthritis?
Among the most typical indications and symptoms of arthritis are:
- Pain in the joints.
- restricted range of motion, or stiffness in a joint’s range of motion.
- edoema (an inflammation).
- Skin color changes.
- sensitivity to touch or tenderness around a joint.
- a sensation of warmth or heat close to your joints.
The type of arthritis you have and the joints it affects determine where you experience symptoms.
Flares, also known as flare-ups, are periodic waves of symptoms caused by some kinds of arthritis. Others cause constant pain or stiffness in your joints, especially after physical activity.
What causes arthritis primarily?
The causes of arthritis differ based on the type you have:
- As you age, osteoarthritis develops naturally because years of use can gradually wear down the cartilage that cushions your joints.
- If your blood contains an excessive amount of uric acid (hyperuricemia), you may develop gout.
- When your immune system unintentionally damages your joints, it can result in arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis.
- Viral arthritis can be brought on by specific viral infections, such as COVID-19.
- Arthritis can occasionally occur without a cause or trigger. Physicians refer to the condition as idiopathic arthritis.
Although arthritis can strike runners, is running the cause?
Maybe you believe the solution is clear-cut. Undoubtedly, years of running on hard surfaces like pavements or even softer ones could wear down your joints in the same way that tires eventually wear out from excessive mileage. Moreover, older persons are typically affected with osteoarthritis, the most prevalent kind of arthritis. In fact, it’s frequently called degenerative and age-related. That seems like the kind of circumstance where things wear and tear.
Perhaps not. Of course, it’s simple to point the finger at running when someone who routinely runs develops arthritis. However, that blame can be misplaced. The inquiries to make are:
- Does running cause arthritis and damage to the joints?
- Does arthritis start out small and show up more as you run?
- Is the relationship more intricate?
Maybe most people don’t have a link between running and arthritis. However, it’s possible that people who are genetically predisposed to arthritis will experience it earlier if they start jogging.
These concerns have been the subject of extensive investigation during the past few decades. We’re getting closer, even though the solutions are still not quite clear.
What connection exists between arthritis and running?
An increasing body of research indicates that osteoarthritis and other joint diseases are not brought on by jogging.
- In comparison to competitive runners (13.3%) and non-runners (10.2%), recreational runners had lower rates of hip and knee osteoarthritis (3.5%), according to a 2017 study.
- A 2018 study found that 675 marathon runners had an incidence of hip or knee arthritis that was half of what was predicted for the US population.
- MRIs performed shortly after jogging did not reveal any signs of appreciable damage to the cartilage lining the knee joints, according to a 2022 review of 24 research.
These are only some of the medical research that has been published on the topic. Overall, the evidence points to running as possibly being preventive against arthritis rather than its likely cause.
Why is research on running and arthritis so difficult?
It takes many years for osteoarthritis to manifest. Research that is convincing would take a while, maybe ten years or longer.
It is not possible to conduct a perfect study. A randomized controlled trial that is double-blind is the most potent kind of research investigation. In these trials, subjects are randomized to either a treatment group (which may be receiving a novel medication) or a control group (which is typically taking a placebo). When a study is double-blind, neither the participants nor the researchers are aware of who is receiving a placebo or the treatment group. This type of trial cannot be carried out while the treatment under investigation is in use.
Watch out for con artists. A confounding variable is one that is impossible to control for in a study. People who run those who don’t who have no connection to running may differ significantly. Running enthusiasts might, for instance, smoke less, maintain a healthier weight, or adhere to a better diet than non-runners. Their differences could be related to genes that control musculoskeletal system development, ligament strength, or joint alignment. These variables may influence arthritis risk and complicate the interpretation of study findings. In fact, they might help to explain why running is found to be protective in certain studies.
Running’s effects can differ from person to person. For example, the tension of extra weight on the joints may raise the incidence of arthritis in obese individuals who run frequently, albeit this has not been demonstrated.
Every person who signed up for the Chicago Marathon in 2019 or 2021 (n = 37,917) received a survey. In addition to gathering demographic data about runners, surveys evaluated the history of running-related injuries, osteoarthritis, family history, hip/knee discomfort, and surgery. The number of years run, the average running pace, the average weekly mileage, and the number of marathons completed were all included in the running history. After determining the general prevalence of osteoarthritis, variables linked to the existence of hip and/or knee osteoarthritis were found using a multivariable logistic regression model.
Results: 3804 people completed the surveys (response rate: 10.0%). The participants had completed an average of 9.5 marathons (median: 5; range: 1-664 marathons) and the mean age was 43.9 years (range: 18-83 years). 7.3% of people had arthritis in one or both hips and knees. Arthritis risk variables were aging, family history, body mass index (BMI), and a history of hip/knee traumas or surgery. Weekly mileage, mean running pace, total number of running years, and total number of marathons done were not significant predictors of arthritis. Of all the runners, the majority (94.2%) said they intended to run another marathon; however, 24.2% of them had received advice from a doctor not to.
Conclusion: Age, BMI, prior injury or surgery, and family history were the most important risk factors for developing hip or knee arthritis among this biggest survey cohort of marathon runners. The cumulative running history and the risk of arthritis did not appear to be related.
How can Arthritis be avoided?
Not all types of arthritis can be prevented; some occur spontaneously or as a result of uncontrollable medical issues. On the other hand, you can reduce your risk of arthritis by:
- avoiding goods made of tobacco.
- keeping up a healthy diet and workout regimen.
- engaging in low-impact workouts.
- Wearing the appropriate safety gear is a must for any activity that puts your joints at risk.
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