Arthritis and movement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Karel Nunnink   

Weights and arthritis



Arthritis literally means joint disease there are different types, one type osteoarthritis accounts for about 80% of the cases and effects millions of people around the world.

This is a degenerative disordering which cartilage( the soft cushy sponge like tissues that act as shock absorbers between bones) starts to breakdown.

Cartilage is composed mostly of water, kind of likes damp sponge or small balloon filled with water, so when pressure is applied to the joint the water is moved around to equalize the force and therefore protect the bones.

This spongy part of the cartilage also contains special nutrients like glycoaminoglycans and cells like chondrocytes that help to regenerate new bits of cartilage.

Although many people think of Osteoarthritis as a wear and tear issue, this may be too simplistic an approach, as the immune system is also involved in the repair mechanism and can sometimes get carried away and do more damage then repair.

Cartilage in itself has no blood supply, and depends on pressing forces to squeeze out wastes and then pulling or distracting forces to pull in nutrients.

Because of the lack of blood flow cartilage only has a limited ability to repair itself.

Some people are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis than others, gender(women have a slightly greater chance than men) excess weight and a family history all are predisposing factors.

As far as sport activities, a study done in England in 2002 found basketball to be the most injurious sport of all, Olympic weightlifting was number 19 and powerlifting was 12th.

This was confirmed in a later study at the National Centers for Disease Control where they also found basketball at the top of the list for reported injuries, and weight training and aerobics near the bottom.

Most important was muscle mass because of it's protective properties on the joints, if your muscles are weak you are at an elevated risk for developing Osteoarthritis.

Muscle is the most important protector of joints, cartilage only absorbs shock that gets past the muscle that's why muscle weakness is so harmful.

As more and more shocks get through, like your cars suspension, something has to give and that means a degradation in cartilage.

Now you are bone on bone and that can be painful and lead to decrease in movement and therefore decrease in muscle, and increase in your joints being  exposed to more shear and wear.

The bad news is you cant grow new cartilage to replace the cartilage worn away yet, but there are some real exciting breakthroughs not to far in our future. The good news is that you can grow new muscle tissue and thereby rebuild a critical part of your joints shock absorber system.



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