Arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, is a common problem that affects thousands of people every year. The symptoms can vary but the main things to look out for are inflammation around your joints, any damage to cartilage, and growths around the joints. Any of these things will cause stiffness, pain and discomfort during some activities.
Although all joints are at risk, the main ones that are at risk are the spine, hips, and knees as well as joints in your hands and big toe.
The people who are most at risk of developing osteoarthritis are those over 50. It is also more likely to affect women than men. However, it is not necessarily an inevitable result of ageing, as not all older people suffer from problems with or pain in their joints. People under 50 are also at risk of developing it, particularly if they have suffered from a condition with their joints or had an injury.
Although osteoarthritis does not have any cure, there is help and treatment available to help you manage the symptoms. For the milder symptoms, people can often benefit from appropriate footwear and light exercise. For more serious cases, the treatments not involving drugs can include a programme of weight loss or some physiotherapy. If drugs are required, painkillers can be prescribed to manage the pain. In very rare instances, hip or knee replacement surgery may be required.
Long-term conditions such as arthritis require you to think about how you can best live with them. As well as any necessary medical insurance, you will need to think about any help you may require if your mobility is reduced or if you need any extra support to cope with the financial aspect. You will also need to take special care in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ensuring that you keep up with taking any required medication. You should talk to a doctor if you have any concerns about living with a condition.