The bone and joint condition arthritis affects one in five American adults. It’s the leading cause of disability in America. With so many people affected by arthritis — maybe you or a loved one — we think it’s a good idea for everyone to understand the disease. Take our quiz to test your knowledge.
- Myth or Fact — All joint pain is actually arthritis.
Answer: A number of conditions can cause joint pain, not just arthritis. Joint pain can result from tendonitis, bursitis and other soft-tissue injuries. A health care professional can tell you precisely what might cause your joint pain and offer appropriate treatments.
This myth is false.
- Myth or Fact — Arthritis is for old people.
Answer: About two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than 65. About 300,000 children have been diagnosed — some as young as 1 or 2.
There are many different types of arthritis. Some common types include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis involve joint inflammation. These can happen at any age.
- Osteoarthritis is a condition that does tend to appear in older adults. It’s caused by the normal wear and tear of daily living.
- Gout is a painful inflammation that usually starts in the big toe and results in swelling, joint tenderness and limited movement.
So this myth is false.
- Myth or Fact — If you have minor joint pain that doesn’t go away in a week or two, you should see your health care professional.
Aches and pains are a normal part of life. If you have pain that lasts for a week or two, gets worse over time or interferes with your normal activity, you should see your health care provider. Ignoring joint pain care result in undiagnosed problems that could cause additional problems later.
This point is a fact.
- Myth or Fact — There’s not much you can do about arthritis pain.
Science has made a number of advances in pain management. There are a number of recent drug, surgery and medical treatments, along with exercise regimens, that can help people live well. A health care professional can diagnose the type of arthritis a person may have and develop a treatment plan that help manage pain and maintain a healthful activity level.
Statement 4 is a false myth.
- Myth or Fact — What you eat has nothing to do with arthritis.
Research shows people with arthritis are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Having a healthy diet
– such as eating a Mediterranean diet with olive oil, lean meats and fish, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids – can help control diabetes, heart disease and obesity. They’ll also help you improve your overall health and manage arthritis.
This one is a false myth.
- Myth or Fact — Once diagnosed with arthritis, exercise is no longer a good idea.
While exercise may seem to be a bad idea, a sedentary lifestyle can cause joints to continue to deteriorate. However, low-impact exercises that focus on your range of motion can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and help them resist wear. Good exercises include:
- Yoga designed for arthritis patients
- Tai Chi
- Water aerobics
- Moderate weight training
- Walking on a level surface
Statement 6 is a myth and not true.
- Myth or Fact — Cracking your knuckles has no connection to arthritis.
Studies have tried this one out. No connection has be found between cracking knuckles and an increased risk of arthritis. That said, there may be a link between cracking knuckles and ligament and tendon injuries in the fingers. Another study found that knuckle crackers may not have as strong a grip as those who don’t crack knuckles.
Statement 7 is a fact, but you still may want to reconsider cracking your knuckles for other reasons than arthritis.
If you have any questions about your joint health, see your health care professional. If you have joint discomfort, your health care provider can find out why and start you on an appropriate course of treatment to keep you more comfortable and doing the things you like to do.
The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.