More than 23% of adults in the US experience arthritis in some form. This can make moving, gripping, and activities of daily living a challenge. While there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, osteoarthritis and gout are considered two of the worst kinds. That’s because osteoarthritis, in itself, has four different stages of the condition — zero to four. So, what can someone with osteoarthritis do to relieve their symptoms, and what can you do to make living with osteoarthritis easier?
4 Stages of Osteoarthritis
There are four stages of osteoarthritis, and each stage is treated differently. The stages include:
Stage 1: Minor bone spurs that can cause some discomfort and pain. Your doctor may suggest taking supplements and exercising if you have a history of increased risk.
Stage 2: Mild pain with greater bone spurs and symptoms — including pain after walking or running, stiffness in the joints, and tenderness when kneeling or bending. A doctor can now properly diagnose osteoarthritis based on your symptoms and may suggest you lose weight through diet and exercise and use braces for bending, squatting, or jumping.
Stage 3: Moderate pain where the cartilage between bones begins showing damage and pain when walking, running, bending, or kneeling is frequent. Your doctor may start suggesting different drugs or shots — including cortisone — and prescribe pain management medicine if over-the-counter NSAIDs are no longer effective.
Stage 4: Severe pain and discomfort when walking and moving the joint and almost no cartilage between joints — causing joints to stiffen and prevent movement. Your doctor may suggest bone realignment surgery, which includes cutting the bone above or below the knee to shorten, lengthen, or change its alignment. Other options may include total knee replacement surgery.
Foods to Avoid for Osteoarthritis
Regardless of your stage, diet plays a crucial role in managing osteoarthritis. By removing or limiting certain foods, you can avoid flareups. That’s because osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition that can become aggravated with certain foods. Plus, weight gain will worsen your symptoms. The most common foods that impact osteoarthritis include:
- Fried foods
- White flour
- Omega-6 fatty acids
Exercising with Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis can impact any weight-bearing joint — including the spine, knees, hips, toes, and other body parts. That’s why exercising can make working out difficult. This especially applies to Stage 3 or 4 and when the joint impacted is your knee. Knees play a pivotal role in your day-to-day activities. They help you bend, jump, jog, change direction, and run.
The best way to exercise with osteoarthritis of the knee is to incorporate knee exercises into your routine. Helpful exercises include:
- Quadriceps setting
- Straight leg raises
- Hamstring stretches
- Gluteus strengthening
- Calf stretches
How to Prevent Worsening Stages
While family history and genetics may play a role in determining your risk of osteoarthritis, there are many lifestyle choices that can also impact flareups and the different stages. Whether you want to prevent getting it in the first place or you’re at Stage 3 and want to maintain and prevent your condition from getting worse, the most common ways of preventing your osteoarthritis from worsening include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Controlling your blood sugar
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing the risk of injuries within your home
- Undergoing posture and bone alignment tests
- Avoiding overuse
- Getting help
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you suffer from osteoarthritis pain and it’s making your life uncomfortable, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love. With six convenient locations, we provide quality orthopedic care and interventional pain management services to patients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Palm Coast, and New Smyrna Beach.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.