This week, as we continue our focus on National Bone & Joint Health Awareness Month, we celebrate World Arthritis Day on October 12th. Arthritis is characterized by the feeling of pain, swelling, stiffness or decreased range of motion in your joints.

Arthritic conditions are the second most common musculoskeletal diseases among adults and are the most common cause of disability among adults in this country.  They affect an estimated 50 million people, including 300,000 children and are expected to soar, according to the nationally recognized Experts in Arthritis education program.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, while Rheumatoid and Juvenile arthritis also affect many people.  Osteoarthritis involves damage to your joint’s cartilage, resulting from bone grinding directly on bone, which can cause pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be accelerated by a joint injury or infection.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining becomes inflamed and swollen and can destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

Some risk factors for developing arthritis include obesity, genetics, age and history of joint injuries and trauma.  Arthritis can be physically debilitating for those that suffer from it, limiting normal work and daily activity and the ability to be physically active, all leading to more adverse health conditions.

Arthritis is often noted as a chronic condition, but the standard of care and treatment has evolved and now the focus of care involves screening for risk factors and focusing on early prevention and intervention.  It is vital for a patient to alert their doctor to any early signs of joint pain or injury, so treatment can begin immediately and improve quality of life.

IBJI rheumatologists (physicians specializing in the non-surgical management of arthritis) use a team approach, working with orthopaedic partners, podiatrists, pain specialists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and others to slow or halt disease progression, improve function and control pain.

Our team of professionals, along with our innovative medical and therapeutic treatment plans, restore flexibility and strength, diminish pain and enable those living with arthritis to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.