It is estimated that OsteoArthritis (OA) affects more than 27 million Americans over the age of 25. Commonly known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, OA is caused by the inevitable breakdown of cartilage found in joints throughout our body. Most often, people experience OsteoArthritis later in life once they are past the age of 65. There are some cases when the symptoms will reveal themselves earlier, such as after an injury or if someone is overweight. Because so many people experience OsteoArthritis, there are many ideas and myths floating around out there about what it really is and how to best treat it. Here are the OsteoArthritis myths that can cause confusion or further issues: Myth #1. OsteoArthritis is not serious. Because OsteoArthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joints in our bodies, especially weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips and ankles, it can definitely lead to more serious issues. The cartilage in our joints are what help bones work together without rubbing against each other. The deterioration of that cartilage can lead to stiff, swollen and painful joints. Myth #2. Exercise will make things worse. We understand that it may seem counterintuitive to try and use your joints more when they are causing pain. It might feel like you are making things worse by doing so. The truth is, exercise helps to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the joints, which can make a difference in the amount of pressure in the joint. What’s more, exercise can help keep weight down, which is a contributor to OsteoArthritis. Myth #3. Joint replacement is the only alternative. Many people are pleased to learn that there are other beneficial and hugely successful treatments for OsteoArthritis other than replacement surgery. Arrowhead Health Centers provides treatments such as our all-natural hyaluronic acid injections that act as a lubricant and shock absorber. Other treatments include working with a physical therapist to build a low-impact exercise routine to help keep the joint functioning properly. Myth #4. I can’t get OsteoArthritis if I am young and active. While it is true that most people develop OsteoArthritis as they reach their 60’s, there are reports of much younger people with symptoms of OA. These are active people who may even be involved in sports. In most cases, those who see symptoms or signs of OsteoArthritis at a younger age have sustained some type of injury while training or playing a sport. Myth #5. My diet has nothing to do with OsteoArthritis. As pointed out before, a person’s weight can have a major impact on the development of OsteoArthritis. This goes back to the idea that OA is caused by the degeneration of cartilage. The more weight cartilage in our joints sustain, the faster it will break down. Diet plays an important role in keeping our weight under control and not adding unneeded pressure to joints. To learn more about OsteoArthritis and the treatments available for it, call Arrowhead Health Centers today at 623-334-4000 option 9.