A joint is an area of the body where two bones meet. Joints are made up of various connective tissues (cartilage- covers the surface of a bone, ligaments- connects one bone to another bone, tendons- connects a bone to a muscle); bursa (that helps to provide cushion against friction at a joint); and synovial fluid (a lubricating fluid that also reduces friction at a joint) to help our bodies move with ease. Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint caused by the loss of articular cartilage (which helps the bones to move without friction) that occurs over time.
When the articular cartilage is no longer there, there is no protection against bone on bone interactions. These interactions are therefore, very painful. Because there is no blood in the cartilage, there is now way for it to heal. In other words, once the cartilage is gone, it is unable to come back.
The most common symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, limited range/lack of motion and atrophy (the reduction of muscle size due to inactivity/immobilization). There are several joints that are more often affected such as the knee, hip, lumbar spine (lower back) and the wrist.
It is common that individuals with arthritis tend to decrease mobility. However, movement and exercise is a great way to manage joint pain as it helps to preserve muscle tissue, improve/increase your range of motion and maintain a healthy body weight.
If you are dealing with arthritis and are looking a new exercise plan, here are a few tips/ideas to consider:
– Make sure you do an extended warm-up (5-10 minutes) to ensure the joints are lubricated before moving to the “meat” of the class.
– Know that a small amount of joint pain/discomfort is normal. However, please stop exercise if the pain is too serve or persists for more than two hours after exercise.
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