Arthritis is a very common disease but is not well understood by the general population. There are actually over 100 types of arthritis and conditions related to arthritis, and more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffer from the effects of this disease.

As there are many misconceptions about arthritis, here are seven myths about the disease and the truths behind them.

Myth #1 – Arthritis is an old-age disease. Children, teenagers, and young adults cannot get arthritis.

The truth is that arthritis can affect people of any age. While it is more common in older adults, arthritis is not limited to this age group. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in adults under 65 years old.

Myth #2: Arthritis is inevitable as I age. There is nothing I can do to prevent arthritis.

This is not necessarily true. While there are some risk factors for arthritis that cannot be changed, such as family history, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease.

Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding injury can help reduce your risk of arthritis.

Myth #3: If my parents have arthritis, I will have arthritis.

Family history is a risk factor for arthritis, but it does not mean that you will get the disease. Many other factors contribute to the development of arthritis, so even if your parents have arthritis, you may not.

Myth #5: You shouldn’t exercise if you have arthritis.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for arthritis. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the joints, which can help to protect them. Exercise also helps to increase range of motion and flexibility, and can reduce pain and stiffness. Ideas for joint-friendly activities include but are not limited to swimming, cycling, yoga, water aerobics, and dancing.

Myth #6: Cracking knuckles causes arthritis.

The “pop” of a cracked knuckle is caused by bubbles bursting in the synovial fluid (the lubricant in your joints). Although the act of popping your knuckles has been associated with other health risks (like losing grip strength in your hands), it is not scientifically associated with arthritis.

Myth #7: Arthritis is not a serious health problem.

Arthritis is a serious health problem that should not be ignored. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints, make an appointment with Dr. Hicken to discuss treatment options. Give us a call at 435-787-2000 and start on the road to a more comfortable life!