Osteoarthritis: Symptoms and Management Strategies

Manage osteoarthritis symptoms in order to help older adults remain active and engaged in life.

According to the CDC, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting upwards of 32 million adults. The condition most often impacts the hips, hands, and knees, and it occurs when the protective cartilage between joints wears down over time. Osteoarthritis frequently leads to pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases, osteoarthritis symptoms can even include a loss of function in the joints affected. Because of the pain associated with osteoarthritis, a person’s quality of life can be negatively impacted. Typical signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint stiffness: Most noticeable after being active or upon awakening.
  • Joint pain: Affected joints may hurt during and after movement.
  • Loss of flexibility: The affected joint may not be able to move through a full range of motion.
  • Grating sensation: When using an affected joint, the individual may feel a grating sensation, and may hear cracking or popping.
  • Swelling: Soft tissue can become inflamed around the affected joint.
  • Tenderness: The affected joint may feel tender when light pressure is applied to it or near it.
  • Bone spurs: Extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, can form around the affected joint.

The risk of developing osteoarthritis increases with age and women are more likely than men to develop the condition. While osteoarthritis does cause irreversible damage to joints over time, the good news is that symptoms can usually be managed, allowing individuals to lead full and active lives.

Top Ways to Manage Osteoarthritis Symptoms

  • Stay active – Maintaining an active lifestyle is a safe and effective way of alleviating arthritis pain. Regular physical activity can aid in improved sleep, bone health, weight control, and brain health. Exercising also helps improve joint function and boost the mood and quality of life of adults with osteoarthritis. Remember to always consult with the doctor before adding to or changing any exercise routines.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Along the same lines of staying active, maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful in reducing the effects from osteoarthritis. The less weight bearing down on the joints, especially joints like the hips and knees, the better. A healthy diet along with regular physical activity can help a person reduce and maintain their weight, while alleviating stress on the joints.
  • Protect joints – Choose to incorporate low-impact activities such as swimming, walking and bicycling into the daily routine. Low-impact activities have a low risk of injury and do not put too much pressure or stress on joints.
  • Upgrade your joint-management skills – There are self-management workshops that are specifically designed to help people learn skills to manage arthritis. These workshops help individuals:
    • Feel more in control of their health
    • Plan and participate in safe physical activities
    • Communicate better with their health care provider about their osteoarthritis
    • Learn ways to manage pain or other osteoarthritis symptoms
    • Reduce stress and anxiety around osteoarthritis
  • Talk to the doctor – If experiencing any of the common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, speak with the doctor! An early diagnosis of osteoarthritis can help minimize the effects of the condition, ensure effective treatment, and improve overall quality of life.

If you or a loved one has been experiencing osteoarthritis symptoms, reach out to Abrio Home Care today! Our expert caregivers can help encourage participation in physician-approved exercise, prepare nourishing meals to maintain stamina and a healthy weight, offer friendly companionship, and so much more. We work with each individual to develop an effective plan of care that helps improve overall quality of life and well-being. If you are interested in learning more about our home and  respite care in Prescott and the nearby areas, contact us today online or at 877-71-ABRIO (22746).