Arthritis is the most common chronic disease and affects almost 70 million Americans.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and each is treated somewhat differently from the others.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA).
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of disability among adults over the age of 50.
OA affects articular cartilage, the gristle that caps the end of long bones that interact with each other inside a joint.
Cartilage consists of a compressible matrix inside of which are cells called chondrocytes- much like grapes sitting inside a gelatin mold. Under normal circumstances, chondrocytes produce substances that help nourish the matrix. During the development of OA, chondrocytes begin to produce materials that are detrimental to cartilage. Over a period of time, small cracks or fissures develop in cartilage. At the same time, chemicals that stimulate inflammation are produced by cells that line the joint. These chemicals further weaken cartilage. When cartilage damage reaches a certain point, mechanical factors come into play since cartilage no longer is capable of maintaining joint integrity.
Exercises consisting of stretching, strengthening, and non-impact aerobic types are essential for the comprehensive treatment of osteoarthritis, particularly OA involving the knee.