World Arthritis Day: 8 myths about arthritis you should stop believing

Arthritis is a condition that affects your joints and causes inflammation. It is a common disease in India, and there are several myths about arthritis people believe. Let's address 8 of these myths this World Arthritis Day.
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Myths about arthritis you should stop believing. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Published: 12 Oct 2023, 08:59 am IST
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Arthritis is a prevalent condition affecting millions of individuals in India and worldwide. As per data from the National Institutes of Health, around 62.35 million people in 2019 were reported to suffer from a type of arthritis in India. The numbers are only increasing with time. The literal meaning of “arthritis” is joint inflammation. Arthritis is of various types and can affect other organs in some cases as well. Some of the common symptoms of arthritis include heat, swelling, pain, and redness in your joints, as per the data by the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite its widespread prevalence, there are numerous myths about arthritis that people believe. Let’s put a stop to them this World Arthritis Day!

Common myths about arthritis you should ignore

Myth 1: Arthritis only affects the elderly

Fact: Arthritis is often associated with ageing, but it can affect people of all ages, including children. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a specific form that impacts children under the age of 16. Arthritis does become more prevalent as people age, but it is not exclusive to older adults.

signs of arthritis
Arthritis can affect anyone at any age. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Myth 2: Arthritis is a single disease

Fact: Arthritis is an umbrella term encompassing over 100 different types of joint diseases and conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the most common forms, each with distinct characteristics, causes, and treatments.

Myth 3: Arthritis is just a normal part of ageing

Fact: While arthritis is more common in older age groups, it is not a normal part of ageing. It is a medical condition that involves inflammation and damage to the joints, which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

Myth 4: Cold weather worsens arthritis pain

Fact: While many arthritis sufferers report increased pain and stiffness in cold weather, scientific evidence supporting this claim is inconclusive. Weather changes may affect pain perception, but arthritis is primarily influenced by inflammation, joint damage, and other medical factors rather than weather conditions.

Also Read: Joint pain in winter: Know why they get worse and how to prevent it

Myth 5: Arthritis only affects the joints

Fact: Arthritis not only impacts the joints but can also affect organs and other body systems. In certain types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks various tissues, potentially causing damage to organs such as the heart, lungs, and skin.

Myth 6: Exercise worsens arthritis pain

Fact: Regular, appropriate exercise is crucial for managing arthritis and improving joint function. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming and walking, help maintain flexibility, strengthen muscles, and reduce pain. Inactivity can lead to muscle weakness and increased joint stiffness.

Arthritis exercises
Certain exercises can increase arthritis risk. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Myth 7: Cracking knuckles causes arthritis

Fact: The common belief that cracking knuckles leads to arthritis is a misconception. Research has not shown a direct link between knuckle cracking and an increased risk of developing arthritis. However, excessive knuckle cracking may cause some joint irritation or decreased grip strength.

Also Read: Does knuckle cracking cause arthritis? Expert weighs in

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Myth 8: Arthritis can be cured completely

Fact: Currently, there is no known cure for arthritis. However, various treatments and strategies can effectively manage symptoms, reduce pain, and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. These may include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and, in severe cases, surgery.

Understanding the facts about arthritis is crucial for dispelling myths and promoting appropriate treatment. Arthritis is a complex condition that requires a personalised approach to improve the lives of those affected by it. It’s essential to rely on accurate information and consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and management.

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About the Author

Dr Jatinder Bir Singh Jaggi is the Associate Director of Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement, Arthroscopy, and Sports Injury, at Max Hospital in Gurugram. He completed his MBBS from Indira Gandhi Medical College, Nagpur, MS (Orthopaedics) from Nagpur University, DNB (Orthopaedics), MCh (Orthopaedics) from United Kingdom, Trauma Fellow from Centre de Traumatologie et d’Orthopdie de Strasbourg, France, Fellowship in Hip and Knee Arthroplasty from Regensburg, Germany & Knee Fellowship from the ISK Institute in Lenox Hill, Hospital for Joint Disease, New York, USA and has expertise in Complex Trauma, Joint Preservation Surgery, Foot and ankle Surgery, Elective Orthopaedic Surgery, Lower Limb Joint Replacement Surgery, Hip and Knee Primary/Revision Surgery etc. He has Published articles in various indexed Journals. He is a presenter, co-author and a part of the organising secretary at various national and international conferences. ...Read More

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