We all have someone in our lives who is affected by arthritis. Roughly 54.4 million Americans are diagnosed with a joint-related condition every year. So, what causes arthritis? Arthritis refers to over 100 conditions involving the inflammation and deterioration of the joints. Not all types of arthritis are caused by the same factors. Let’s take a look at the most common forms of arthritis and what the causes or risk factors are of different types of arthritis.
Most Common Types of Arthritis
Arthritis does not refer to a single disease. It is classified as an umbrella term to refer to over 100 conditions. The most common forms of arthritis are
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation and pain in the joints. The lining between the joints is affected and eventually, there is bone erosion and joint deformity because of the condition.
- Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It causes the cartilage located between the joints to deteriorate. Cartilage is responsible for cushioning the joints to prevent the bones from being damaged when in use. When the cartilage deteriorates, the joints don’t have a safeguard between them which can cause pain, swelling, and damage to the joints.
Causes and Risk Factors of Arthritis
There is no single cause of arthritis. However, there are several risk factors that increase your risk of developing arthritis in your lifetime. Different forms of arthritis have different risk factors. The most common risk factors include:
- Injury: Some injuries that happen in a joint can cause degenerative arthritis. Degenerative arthritis refers to a joint that deteriorates.
- Genetics: If you have a close blood relative with a type of arthritis condition, you may be at a higher risk of developing it because of genetics.
- Immune System Problems: There are several types of arthritis that are caused by immune system dysfunctions. An example of this is rheumatoid arthritis.
- Metabolic Problems: Metabolic issues that result in abnormal metabolisms can increase your risk of developing some forms of arthritis such as gout.
- Infections: There are some types of arthritis that are caused by infections. An example of this is Lyme disease, a type of arthritis that develops after a blacklegged tick infects a person with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
- Age: As you age, your risk of developing a form of arthritis increases. The older you are, the more risk your joints have of degenerating and being damaged.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing arthritis because it puts more pressure on your joints than necessary. Overuse and pressure on joints due to being overweight can contribute to the onset of arthritis and hasten its progression.
Managing Arthritis Pain
While most types of arthritis are incurable, there are a variety of ways to manage arthritic conditions. Here are a few factors to keep in mind.
- For most types of arthritis, physical therapy is a very effective treatment component that reduces pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness in joints caused by arthritic conditions.
- Each type of arthritis requires a slightly different treatment plan.
- The degree of progression of the arthritic condition is also a factor in determining the best treatment for your particular type of arthritis.
If you or a family member have arthritis and want to explore treatments that can help reduce pain and increase the functionality of the joints, contact Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. We understand arthritis and know how to help you manage your condition through effective physical therapy techniques. For your convenience, we have several locations in Austin, TX. Call (512) 284-7192 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.