By Dr. Ebi Ofrey (Cofounder/CEO GeroCare)
Osteoarthritis is a common problem that many older adults face. It is a type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage, which is the soft and smooth material that covers the ends of bones, wears down. This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
Think of your joints like a finely-tuned machine, much like a car. Just as a car needs regular maintenance and oil changes to keep running smoothly, our joints need to be taken care of as well. But as we age, the cartilage that cushions our joints, much like the oil in a car, can start to wear down and become less effective. This can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving, just like a car would if it didn’t have enough oil.
Just like with a car, there are things that can speed up the wear and tear on our joints. For example, being overweight can put extra stress on our joints, similar to how driving a car on rough roads can wear out the tires faster. And just like how a car can be damaged by an accident, an injury or overuse of a joint can also lead to osteoarthritis.
The good news is that just like a car, osteoarthritis can be prevented and managed. Regular check-ups with a doctor, physical therapy, medication, and assistive devices are crucial in preventing and managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, just like taking your car to a mechanic for regular check-ups and repairs. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, much like a car needing a major repair.
Taking care of your joints through exercise, a healthy diet, and regular check-ups can help you stay active and comfortable as you age. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint, improve flexibility and reduce pain. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the stress on your joints and prevent osteoarthritis from getting worse.
In addition, it’s important to be mindful of your body and its needs. If you feel pain or stiffness in your joints, don’t ignore it. Consult with your doctor, they will be able to help you manage the symptoms and prevent it from getting worse.