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What Is Osteoarthritis?

Who is Arthur, and why is he hurting so many people? Dr. Rob gives the inside scoop on this villain.

By
Rob Lamberts, MD
Episode #054

Does Exercise Cause Osteoarthritis?

I mentioned that certain sports can cause osteoarthritis. The association between arthritis and athletic activity is very complicated. One source I read said: “in various forms and degrees, exercise may prevent, cause, accelerate, or treat osteoarthritis.” Got that? Me neither. The bottom line seems to be that people who are very active in sports, particularly contact sports, are at an increased risk for arthritis. Specific sports can lead to much higher rates of specific types of arthritis; professional baseball pitchers, for example, are at much higher risk of developing OA in their throwing arm. The odd exception to this is running, which does not appear to be associated with an increase in OA at all.

So what is the real cause of OA? There were a whole lot of very complicated explanations in the articles I read. Whenever I see a bunch of complicated explanations for something, it generally means that scientists still haven’t figured it out to a degree that they can explain it to the rest of us.

How Can You Prevent Osteoarthritis?

So can anything be done to prevent OA? I would love to give you advice on this, but there aren’t any magic pills or exercises yet. I hope they come up with some before I get too much arthritis. Here are a few things that can reduce your chance of getting OA or reduce its severity if it should happen:

  1. Moderate exercise is probably helpful, although it is no guarantee to prevent OA

  2. Don’t injure yourself. Being a klutz like me makes OA more likely.

  3. If your parents have bad arthritis, get different ones who don’t have OA at all.

  4. Keep your weight down. Obesity increases the risk of OA in your knees.

  5. Some studies show that people with OA had lower vitamin C and D consumption than those without. That may mean that a good intake of these vitamins could reduce your risk of OA.

That’s as far as I will go for today. Next week I’ll tell you how to keep Arthur Ritis from causing too much trouble in your life.

Don’t forget to eliminate the trouble of meetings from your life by going to Go to Meeting and try their product for free.

If you have topics that you want me to cover, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com, or you can submit them to me on twitter (@housecalldoc) or my Facebook page.

Let me once again remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time! Stay Healthy!

Older Man image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Rob Lamberts, MD
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