Osteoarthritis: a painful chronic disease

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease, often associated with ageing. It is thought to be caused by the ageing of the joints, but can affect individuals of any age, and more particularly athletes and people suffering from obesity. On this World Osteoarthritis Day, we tell you more.

When it comes to the joints, osteoarthritis unfortunately knows no limits: it can affect the neck and the back, the fingers, the shoulders, the elbows, the ankles, the wrists, the hips, or even the knee. Also known as ‘rheumatism’, it represents a progressive degradation of the cartilage, leading to chronic pain, difficult movements, stiffness – especially in the morning – and, sometimes, swelling. If the pain seems to calm down at rest, it may resume with any movement of the joint.

Although the risks are higher in athletes, people suffering from obesity, and certain occupations, such as farming, heredity can also be a significant risk factor. Less cited risk factors also include certain damaging habits. Wearing high heels would increase, for example, the risk of knee osteoarthritis, as would joint injuries, or menopause and its hormonal shake-up!

How to relieve such unpleasant pain? An optimal lifestyle with a maximum of sport should be adopted. If you think that leaving the painful joint at rest is the right thing to do, you have got it wrong! Indeed, if the latter is not used, the cartilage may deteriorate further. Except when acute pain is felt, regular physical activity would even have a pain-killing effect on the affected part, provided endurance sports such as cycling, walking or swimming are given precedence. Diet should also be taken into account to reduce the inconvenience caused by osteoarthritis.

Specialists actually recommend a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as pulses, olive or rapeseed oil, fruit and vegetables – which are also rich in antioxidants to fight cell aging and in fibre –, and… Cayenne pepper! Conversely, other foods should be avoided in case of osteoarthritis: meat – in particular red meat –, cold cuts, sugar, alcohol, fried foods, and even certain vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil or soybean oil.

Over and above a healthier lifestyle, you can seek help with many professionals to make your daily life easier. Physiotherapy is a good example. Thanks to the various treatments and exercises it offers, it not only helps relieve pain, but also delays joint degeneration!

To make an appointment with one of the physiotherapists at the Clinique Bon Pasteur, contact us on 401 95 00.

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