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Osteoarthritis Prevention

Osteoarthritis results from deterioration or loss of the cartilage that acts as a protective cushion between bones, particularly in weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. While it is not totally preventable there are three things you can do to limit your chances and mostly limit the severity if you do develop it.

Osteoarthritis Prevention through Weight control

Since excess weight adds unnecessary strain on joint, maintaining a healthy and appropriate weight may be the single most important thing you can do to prevent osteoarthritis. Lose unhealthy weight to prevent or lessen joint damage and decrease the stress on weight bearing  joints. Being overweight puts extra strain on the joints, particularly the large weight-bearing joints such as the knees, the hips, and the balls of the feet. Extra weight may alter the normal structure of the joint and increase the risk for osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Prevention through Injury prevention.

One of the major causes of Osteoarthritis is injury or trauma to a joint or group of joints. Protecting your joints from serious injury or repeated minor injuries will decrease your risk of damaging cartilage. Repeated minor injuries include job-related injuries such as frequent or constant kneeling, squatting, or other postures that place stress on the knee joint. Wearing protective gear when playing sports and not playing through an injury may also help prevent osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Prevention through Exercise.

Exercise can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Light- to moderate-intensity physical activity may prevent a decline in, and may even restore, health and function. However, some people with osteoarthritis may be reluctant to exercise because of joint pain after activity. Various steps can be taken to help relieve pain, such as heat and cold therapy or taking pain relievers, which may make it easier for you to exercise and stay active. Choose partial or non-weight bearing exercise, such as bicycling, swimming, or water exercise

Osteoarthritis Prevention - Ten ways to protect you joints

  1. Maintain your ideal body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.
  2. Move your body. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage. We can help you get started on an exercise program that works for you.
  3. Stand up straight. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.
  4. Use the big joints. When lifting or carrying, use largest and strongest joints and muscles. This will help you avoid injury and strain on your smaller joints.
  5. Pace yourself. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes OA.
  6. Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don't ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication that you have overstressed your joints.
  7. Don't be static. Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints.
  8. Forget the weekend warrior. Don't engage in activities your body for which your body isn't prepared. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.
  9. Wear proper safety equipment. Don't leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure you get safety gear that is comfortable and fits appropriately.
  10. Ask for help. Don't try to do a job that is too big for you to handle. Get another pair of hands to help out.






This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.

Arthritis can develop as a result of an infection. For example, bacteria that cause gonorrhea or Lyme disease can cause arthritis. Infectious arthritis can cause serious damage, but usually clears up completely with antibiotics. Scleroderma is a systemic disease that involves the skin, but may include problems with blood vessels, joints, and internal organs. Fibromyalgia syndrome is soft-tissue rheumatism that doesn't lead to joint deformity, but affects an estimated 5 million Americans, mostly women. The approximate number of cases in the United States of some common forms of arthritis. is an informational out reach of the Consumer Health Information Network. It is our goal to provide up to date information about arthritis and other inflammatory and bone conditions in a easy to understand format.

Where we get our information.

Most of the information in the site is compiled by editors from information provided by the National Institutes of Health. We are in the process of updating our pages. In the past we have not made reference to the source for information provide by our editors. In the next few weeks we hope to have all our pages marked as to the source.

We have included information from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Pages that uses information from this source are so acknowledged.

We have contributing authors that send information. Where information is provided by an outside author it is acknowledged by a byline under the title.

Updates of Pages.

Not all of our pages have a date as to the last update. We are in the processes of reviewing all our pages and as we do we include a reference as to when the page was updated. This web site was first published in January of 2003. All pages in the site were created at sometime during or after that time.