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Is My Knee Pain Because of Arthritis? Understanding Arthritis Symptoms in Young Adults

Are you in your 20s or 30s and experiencing persistent knee pain? Have you been dismissing it as a result of your active lifestyle or a sports injury? It maybe so. But among many other conditions, knee pain in young adults can be a sign of arthritis.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the synovial (fluid filled) joints. It is a common condition that affects people of all ages, genders, and races. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common ones. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body's immune system to attack the joints. We will discuss osteoarthritis (OA) going forward.

Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not just a condition that affects the elderly. Young adults can also develop arthritis due to various risk factors, including genetics, obesity, injuries, infections, and poor joint mechanics with repetitive motions. Smoking and poor diet are also known to increase the risk of arthritis in young adults.

What are some signs?

If you are experiencing knee pain, it could be a sign of arthritis. Some common symptoms of arthritis in the knee include:

pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion

The pain may be felt in the front, back, or sides of the knee, and it may worsen with activity or after prolonged sitting or weight bearing activities like climbing stairs or standing. You may also hear painful "crepitus" a grinding or popping sound when you move your knee.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms consistently, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. An X-ray or MRI may be required to assess the severity of the condition.

Can I prevent it?

Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent or minimize the chances of joint arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking are all effective ways to reduce the risk of developing arthritis. Regular exercise, including range of motion exercises and joint-strengthening activities, can also help keep your joints healthy and flexible. Full body and weight-bearing exercise like squats have shown to improve pain and even prevent arthritis.

In addition, avoiding repetitive motions that strain your joints and taking regular breaks during prolonged sitting or standing can help reduce the risk of developing arthritis.

In conclusion, arthritis is not just a condition that affects the elderly. Young adults can also develop arthritis due to various risk factors. If you are experiencing knee pain or other symptoms, it's important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis. Taking steps to prevent joint arthritis, including maintaining a healthy lifestyle and incorporating regular exercise and joint-strengthening activities, can help keep your joints healthy and flexible for years to come.