Joint Pain in Early Age: Understanding Arthritis in Youth
Joint pain, commonly referred to as ‘गठिया’ in Hindi, has traditionally been associated with older individuals, often worsening in cold weather. However, in recent times, an increasing number of young adults are experiencing joint pain. This article delves into the reasons behind this shift and explores expert insights on how to address this issue.
The Surprising Rise of Arthritis in Young People
According to Dr. Ramneek Mahajan, Senior Director (Orthopedics) and Head of Joint Reconstruction (Hip and Knee) Unit at Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, Delhi, “Arthritis doesn’t discriminate by age. Although rheumatoid arthritis predominantly affects the younger population, the presence of osteoarthritis should not be underestimated. It’s surprising that many children and young adults are battling osteoarthritis, dispelling the misconception that this joint condition only affects the elderly.”
The Contributing Factors
Dr. Ramneek identifies several factors that make young people susceptible to arthritis. These include:
Excess body weight can strain the joints, increasing the risk of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
A lack of physical activity contributes to joint problems. Regular exercise is essential for joint health.
3. Poor Nutrition
Inadequate intake of essential nutrients can weaken the joints and exacerbate arthritis risk.
4. High-Impact Sports Participation
Engaging in high-impact sports can lead to joint injuries and subsequent arthritis development.
5. Joint Injuries
Past injuries to the joints, if not properly treated, can lead to arthritis in the future.
Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to joint problems.
7. Congenital Conditions
Certain medical conditions from birth can increase the risk of arthritis in young individuals.
Managing and Preventing Arthritis
Dr. Ramneek advises, “Arthritis can only be managed effectively when lifestyle changes are made, including the inclusion of low-impact exercises. Advanced treatments such as hyaluronic injections and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy are also available. In severe cases, various surgical options like arthroscopy and joint replacement may be considered as a last resort. Timely diagnosis in young individuals can prevent the long-term adverse effects.”
Arthritis is not limited to old age; young people are increasingly affected. The causes include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, high-impact sports, injuries, genetics, and congenital conditions. To combat arthritis in youth, it is crucial to adopt a healthier lifestyle, engage in suitable exercises, and seek professional medical advice when needed.