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Preventing Osteoarthritis for the Health of Your Joints

Preventing Osteoarthritis for the Health of Your Joints

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In Canada, one in ten persons is affected. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) describes osteoarthritis as the body's inability to repair damaged joint tissues.

Although osteoarthritis is often linked to an abnormal stress or injury, it can also be caused by ageing. The disease leads to the deterioration of the cartilage and the bone below, which causes pain, stiffness, instability, swelling and reduced range of motion due to bones rubbing against each other.

The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are the knees, hips, and the joints of the hands and spine.

The risk factors

The main factors related to the onset and progression of osteoarthritis are, among other things:

• Family history

• Age

• Gender (women are more at risk than men)

• Joint trauma and overuse

• Being overweight

• Bad biomechanics of the joint

The prevention of osteoarthritis

There are treatment options that can reduce risk, relieve pain, and improve function. These treatments include:

Joint protection: Strengthening muscles and improving proprioception help protect joints and prevent bone and ligament injuries.

Exercise: Cartilage is neither vascularized nor innervated. It needs joint fluid, in which it is immersed, to allow for its lubrication and nutrition. Physical activity helps nourish cartilage and protect it. Exercise also helps loosen joints, strengthen muscles and make tendons more flexible. Through the release of endorphins, physical activity plays a role in reducing pain. Walking, biking, swimming or doing water gymnastics are good activities to undertake.

Weight management: Weight is the most important link between diet and osteoarthritis. Excess weight adds a burden to the weight-bearing joints (back, hips, knees, ankles and feet). Proper nutrition is essential for managing body weight and symptoms of osteoarthritis. In 2012, researchers showed that a dietary supplement containing collagen (1200 mg/day for 6 months) decreased joint pain of the lower and upper limbs and the lumbar spine in more than half (52%) of the 200 participants. Further work will allow to confirm these results. It is important to see a doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Sports and work hygiene: To avoid overuse or injury to a joint, it is essential to have an adequate posture, to respect biomechanics and to avoid overload and repetitive movements.

Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy allows to assess the alignment of joints and the compensations that might have appeared with daily movements. Various stability, strengthening and flexibility exercises will be proposed to prevent the development of osteoarthritis.

Even if there is no cure for osteoarthritis, you can, thanks to appropriate treatment, control the disease, delay future damage, and keep your joints healthy for as long as possible. The two main goals of treatment are to control pain and increase your functional abilities.



Osteoarthritis on Passeport Santé


Le site de l'arthrose


Bruyère O, Zegels B, Leonori L, Rabenda V, Janssen A, Bourges C, Reginster JY. Effect of collagen hydrolysate in articular pain: a 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Complement Ther Med. 2012 Jun;20(3):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.12.007. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

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