Learn The Signs Causes And Treatment Of Osteoarthritis In Teenagers
Though most people associate arthritis with old age, the disorder can also affect young people in their 30s, 20s and even teens.
Troy Smurawa, M.D., Director of Pediatric Sports Medicine at the Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, explains how and why arthritis can develop in the younger years.
Though Less Common Early
Early-onset arthritis strikes earlier in life than is typical, sometimes even in very young adults and children. Only 7% of diagnosed arthritis cases started between the ages of 18 and 44, which is why most people associate the disease with older age.
The symptoms of early-onset arthritis are the same as for any case of arthritis. A notable difference, however, is that people early-onset must live with them longer.
Early-onset arthritis is treatable. Putting together a team of professionals like your primary care provider, a rheumatologist , and a physical or occupational therapist can help you slow disease progression.
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What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In Teenagers
The symptoms of arthritis in teenagers and young people start as simple joint pain, particularly in the knees. Teens will have pain, sometimes swelling or sometimes limping without pain.
“Pain and swelling are not usually typical of minor joint injuries,” says Dr. Smurawa. “If you have significant pain, swelling or loss of motion, that could indicate some type of arthritis.”
If knee pain does not go away on its own or with the help of physical therapy, it may be caused by OCD. If an athlete experiences any knee pain that lasts for weeks or months, they should see an orthopedic specialist and have an X-ray. Early treatment may help prevent injuries from getting worse.
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Whats It Like Having Arthritis When Youre Young
Being in pain and having a chronic health condition like arthritis can impact your education, career, social life, wellbeing and relationships. It can also affect your ability to enjoy rites of passage such as travelling or going to festivals. Many young people living with arthritis tell us they feel isolated, frustrated and a burden on others. But support is available, and connecting with peers and charities like Versus Arthritis who get it can make all the difference and help you feel optimistic about the future.
There is very good medication to treat arthritis in young people, and its important to try to bring the condition under control to prevent long-term damage to joints. However, these are powerful drugs that can cause unpleasant side effects for young people and impact on their lives.
Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Its important to understand, Dr. Hedrick notes, that there isnt any significant difference between rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in older adults and those in younger adults. Older adults, though, may have other comorbidities that may compound things, he adds.
Older adults are also more prone to having pre-existing joint issues even before the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Hedrick points out, Theyre more likely to have the wear-and-tear of osteoarthritis, so that pain may persist despite any rheumatoid arthritis treatment they receive.
Those painful, inflamed joints
Typically, rheumatoid arthritis is a slowly progressive autoimmune condition, Dr. Hedrick says, that hones in on the joints of your body. It usually affects the smaller joints, like the knuckles and other joints in your hand and then your toes and feet.
The entire premise of rheumatoid arthritis is your body is making inflammation in the joints, he adds. And inflammation accumulates when the body is at rest.
Often, symptoms are worst first thing in the morning or later night. Youll wake up with stiffness or even swelling in those joints and that improves a little bit as the day goes on and those joints loosen up a bit, he says.
Still, that pain and inflammation can be debilitating, even for young adults, without proper care and treatment. And, fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the stiffness and pain.
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Arthritis In Young People Knees
And younger people with joint pain, swelling or stiffness might not even consider arthritis. They would. If you have arthritis, you want to find out early so you can take steps to protect your joints from ongoing pain and permanent damage of uncontrolled inflammation. Early diagnosis and treatment can save more than joints.
The study looked at the effects of taping the knee in 14 people with patellofemoral osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis that causes pain behind or around the kneecap. Taping is known to be helpful for young people with chronic patellofemoral.
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Causes And Risk Factors For Developing Osteoarthritis At A Younger Age
While older age is a common risk factor for OA, other factors may contribute to the development of the disease in younger people.
These include but aren’t limited to:
- Joint injury: Trauma to the joints can increase the risk of developing OA. Repeated physical activity upon an injured joint can exacerbate symptoms. Research estimates about half of the young individuals who sustain knee injuries in the ACL or meniscus will go on to develop OA within 1020 years.
- Being an athlete: Younger people who participate in sports that are more likely to cause injury to the joints, such as football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, and rugby, are at risk for OA. More than 80% of U.S. football players who had a knee injury went on to develop OA 1030 years later.
- Obesity: Developing obesity in early adulthood can put additional stress on the joints, increasing the risk of developing OA in the knees and ankles.
- Genetics: Having a family member who has OA increases the risk of developing the condition.²
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Gout And Calcium Crystal Diseases
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause painful swelling in joints. It typically affects the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the body.
Joints affected by gout can become red and hot. The skin may also look shiny and can peel.
Its caused by having too much urate, otherwise known as uric acid, in the body. We all have a certain amount of urate in our body.
However, being overweight or eating and drinking too much of certain types of food and alcoholic drinks can cause some people to have more urate in their bodies. The genes you inherit can make you more likely to develop gout.
If it reaches a high level, urate can form into crystals that remain in and around the joint. They can be there for a while without causing any problems and even without the person realising they are there.
A knock to a part of the body or having a fever can lead to the crystals falling into the soft part of the joint. This will cause pain and swelling.
There are drugs that can reduce the amount of urate in the body and prevent gout attacks. Examples are allopurinol and . If youre having a gout attack, youll also need short-term pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as paracetamol can be good drugs to try first.
Men can get gout from their mid-20s, and in women its more common after the menopause. Taking water tablets can increase the risk of gout.
There are also conditions that cause calcium crystals to form in and around joints.
What Are The Causes Of Osteoarthritis
The causes of osteoarthritis generally differ between someone who is young and an older person with the condition.
Causes of osteoarthritis in the young include:
- Being overweight or obese, which puts extra pressure on the weight-bearing joints
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Having a job that requires sitting down for long periods of time
- Poor posture when sitting for long periods or regular heavy lifting
- Performing regular impact sports, such as football or hockey
- Having a job that puts continued strain on the joints
- Joint injuries
- Being very active or athletic
- A family history of osteoarthritis
- Being born with hip dysplasia
- Having diabetes or a disorder related to growth hormones
Osteoarthritis in older people and the elderly is usually down to wear and tear of joints that naturally occurs with age.
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Can You Have Children
Plan ahead for pregnancy if you can. Tell your rheumatologist when youâd like to start a family, even if thatâs in a few years. If your treatment plan keeps your RA well controlled, youâre more likely to be able to conceive and have a healthy, safe pregnancy.
Some RA medications, like leflunomide and methotrexate, can cause serious birth defects if theyâre passed to an unborn baby by either its mother and father. Others may lower sperm count in men with RA. Talk with your doctor about when to stop these drugs so they can clear out of your system before you try to conceive a baby.
Almost half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. If you donât want to have a baby right now for any reason, use birth control every time you have sex. Talk with your rheumatologist about safe, effective options to prevent pregnancy.
There are RA treatments that you can take while youâre pregnant or breastfeeding so you keep your RA under control. Thatâs important, because high disease activity during pregnancy could cause your baby to have a low birth weight. Your rheumatologist will prescribe safe, effective treatments to help you control your RA during these times. Find out more information on family planning with RA.
Cats Condition Has Always Been Referred To As Rheumatoid Arthritis Her Initial Clinic Letter
I think it’s very confusing because I didn’t really know what I had. I’ve always, it’s always been referred to as rheumatoid arthritis, that’s what I have, that’s what I’m treated for, in all my hospital notes that’s what I’m told. If anyone asks me if I have any medical problems I say I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis. But in my initial clinic letter on my diagnosis it is written as polyarticular rheumatoid factor positive JIA and since doing a research project at Uni actually I’ve found that the official terminology is any inflammatory arthritis diagnosed before the age of sixteen that lasts more than six weeks is officially juvenile idiopathic arthritis so I think there is a lot of confusion and actually I think it probably be more useful if everything’s stuck to. But then I don’t think you’d find an adult who wants to be, their disease to be referred to as juvenile because it makes it sound like something that just children get.
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Ra Affects Your Emotions Too
If youâre stressed out or worried about your RA diagnosis, tell your doctor. They can help you get mental health therapy to help you live with your disease, or even prescribe medication for depression if you need it.
Other tips for living with RA:
- Donât try to do too much. Get enough rest when RA makes you feel worn out.
- Ping your friends and talk it out when RA makes you feel upset or worried.
- Check out online or local RA support groups to share your feelings with others who are going through the same thing.
- Make time for yourself. If youâre beat, skip out on some social activities. Take a walk, listen to some tunes, or just hang out at home. Give yourself a break.
Get tips on how to fight depression that comes with RA.
Osteoarthritis In Young People: It Doesnt Just Affect The Elderly
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK. Its a chronic, debilitating condition that affects over 9 million people.
However, misconceptions about osteoarthritis proliferate perhaps most notably, the myth that it only affects the elderly. This is not the case: although old people are more likely to get osteoarthritis , about 15,000 children and young people also develop this condition.
King Edward VIIs Hospital physician Dr David Porter specialises in all aspects of orthobiologics, substances that sports medicine physicians and orthopaedic surgeons use to help broken bones and injured tissues heal more quickly. Hes an internationally renowned senior physician in sports medicine and was previously the Club Doctor at Chelsea FC.
In this article, Dr Porter explains what osteoarthritis is, how it can affect young people as well as old and how it can be treated.
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Am I Too Young To Have Arthritis
Younger people with joint pain, swelling, or stiffness often dismiss arthritis as a cause. After all, arthritis is for old people, right?
Not at all. About 7% of doctor-diagnosed arthritis cases are in people 18 to 44. Theres even a juvenile form that occurs in children less than 16 years old. 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some form of it.
Only a doctor can tell you for sure whether you have arthritis, but here are some things to keep in mind.
What Are The Steps To Diagnosis
Speaking to your GP about your symptoms is a good place to begin getting a diagnosis. Theyre likely to refer you or your child to a sports medicine physician or orthopaedic surgeon who may then carry out all, or some, of the following tests:
- A physical examination of the joint to asses tenderness, swelling, inflammation and mobility
- Blood tests, to rule out the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions including gout(there is no blood test for osteoarthritis
- An x-ray to assess for the loss of cartilage or bone spurs
- An MRI scan to provide a detailed image of the inside of the joint, including the soft tissue
What are the treatment options?
Although any damage to the joints cannot be reversed, the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be managed, allowing sufferers to live as normal a life as possible.
Treatments for osteoarthritis include lifestyle advice, medications, orthobiologics and surgery.
Lifestyle changes include taking steps to lose weight if necessary and doing low impact exercise, such as yoga, to help strengthen muscles around the joint to stabilise it. Your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist if your job or choice of physical activity is causing your symptoms. They may also recommend topical treatments or the use of hot or cold compresses.
Medications for osteoarthritis include pain relievers such as over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ibuprofen, or stronger pain reliever prescriptions.
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Cats Arthritis Started In Her Shoulder She Asked To Take A Break From Sport At School But Her
I remember about my shoulder and I remember how it would be painful one day and not the next and I remember when it was really bad I’d have, I couldn’t get, I couldn’t lift my arm up on its own so I’d have to use my other arm to lift it up for me and that’s the only way I could do it. Even then it was painful but I physically couldnt do it by itself so at school I remember once I was trying to put my jumper on or take it off or something and my friend laughed at me because I had to do this and obviously I didn’t have a diagnosis or any idea what was going on at the time so fair enough really but I remember that. And I remember the fact that because one day I’d be fine and the next day it would be painful, my sports teacher thought I was just trying to get out of sports so I’d be playing netball I think one day and my shoulder started to really hurt. So I said to the teacher, “Would you mind if I just sit out for five minutes?” I wasn’t even asking to stop completely, I just said I just need because my arm’s really hurting and she told me I couldn’t and that, that she thought I was just trying to get out of it basically and I had to carry on playing and I actually loved sport at school so that was a shame.
Why Is Early Diagnosis Important
For some people who need surgery to replace a joint, often the symptoms do not get bad enough to notice until it is too late in the course of the disease to perform successful surgery. You can also delay the progression of OA by getting diagnosed and treated early. If you experience any symptoms of OA, it is important to see a healthcare provider.
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