Osteoarthritis (OA) starts out slowly enough — you feel an ache in your joint after activity. All too soon, however, the ache and stiffness become constant, and unwelcome, companions. You’re not alone. More than 92 million people in the United States struggle with doctor-diagnosed arthritis or arthritis symptoms.
The good news is that there are effective techniques for slowing arthritis and Dr. Moisés Irizarry-Román reviews five of them below. As our name implies — No Mercy Sports Medicine — our goal is to help our patients maintain active and healthy lifestyles long into the future.
Here’s how to accomplish that when you have arthritis.
1. Get moving
We know that the joint pain and inflammation that come with OA don’t really inspire you to move, but movement is the best medicine for arthritis. In moving your joints, you’re encouraging blood flow to the area, which brings valuable healing resources. And movement can keep inflammation and stiffness at bay.
2. Get strong
The second-best thing you can do for arthritic joints is to strengthen the muscles that support them. When you have OA, cartilage is breaking down in your joint, allowing your bones to rub together. If you build muscle around the joint, these tissues can help hold and stabilize the bones.
Physical therapy is a great place to start for building joint strength, and we can help guide you.
3. Lose weight
One of the quickest ways to speed up OA is to carry extra pounds. Your joints are designed to bear a certain amount of weight, and when you exceed that amount, your joints take the brunt of the extra workload.
If you follow steps 1 and 2 above, you’ll be well on your way to losing weight. And we can help further support your efforts with our weight management services.
4. Manage diabetes
If you have diabetes, there are many reasons why you need to manage the chronic, metabolic disease — including arthritis. High blood sugar levels promote system-wide inflammation, and they can cause the cartilage to stiffen.
5. Enlist regenerative resources
One of the most frustrating aspects of osteoarthritis is that cartilage isn’t vascularized, which means blood doesn’t get to it to deliver regenerative resources to the tissue. Once cartilage breaks down, it can’t readily repair and rebuild itself.
We can overcome this hurdle by delivering regenerative resources directly into the damaged tissues. Through platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, as well as stem cell therapy, we can provide your joints with the tools they need to remain strong.
While many studies have been conducted on the use of regenerative medicine for improving joint health, we want to draw your attention to one, in particular. In a study published in 2022, researchers reported that PRP therapy for knee OA improves pain and stiffness at the same time as it aids in the repair and regeneration of cartilage.
In other words, regenerative medicine not only addresses the symptoms of arthritis; it can help reverse the degeneration in your joint.
If you want expert help and guidance for improving the health of your joints when you have OA, please contact No Mercy Sports Medicine in Miami, Florida, today by calling the office at 305-614-6757.