Jokes about arthritis abound. “Who needs a weather report when you have arthritis?” Arthritis is very common, but not very well understood. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it isn’t even one disease, but an informal way of referring to joint pain.
There are actually 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. While typically thought of as a part of growing older, people of all ages can and do have arthritis. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis.Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and the inability to do daily activities.
In osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system goes awry and attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation. There are a variety of treatment options available from medication to joint surgery.
Many runners are told that they will ruin their knees and get arthritis, but one of the things that best refutes that myth is the fact that the Arthritis Foundation sponsors an annual Jingle Bell Run 5k Race to raise money for arthritis research and resources. Cities all over the country sponsor these festive events. Cape Girardeau had their race on December 8th, but it’s not too early to start training for next year!