Osteoarthritis and rheumatism are beginning to strike at younger and younger ages, and it’s no longer just an old person’s problem.
Arthritis is one of those conditions that is usually thought of as an ‘old person’s problem’. And while it’s true that osteoarthritis is most common in those who are old, the fact is that it’s beginning to strike younger and younger people every day. In fact, people in their early 20s are developing the issue as well. Some doctors have even reported it in children as young as ten. Simply put, young people need to pay attention to this growing problem as well.
The majority of osteoarthritis cases in the young are caused by injuries, joint overuse, and poor technique. Things like a torn meniscus or ACL, for example, will often lead to early onset arthritis. In fact, a study recently found that 70% of ACL injuries in younger people ended up leading to osteoarthritis. Sometimes it occurred within a few years, other times it took longer.
Injuries to the joints are the most common cause of joint pain in the young, and are far more common than in adults. And since these injuries turn into the more serious condition of osteoarthritis, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that more and more young people are being attacked by the disease.
The real danger is disability. While older adults who develop the condition usually manage their problem with supplements and painkillers, children face a serious problem in that their bones are still growing and their body is still developing. Plus, they have many more years ahead of them to wear down the cartilage. As a result, when younger patients develop osteoarthritis it’s a much direr situation. Even those in their 20s or 30s face a life time of pain that will only worsen as they continue to use their joints in their daily activities. It can end up crippling them if left untreated.
Things like supplements, injections, dietary changes, physical therapy, and more are all options for managing the problem. If you’re young and are experiencing joint pain, there is a chance that you may be developing a much more serious issue.
So far the CDC has reported that around 300,000 children have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or rheumatism. That’s a huge number, and it’s well worth remembering when we assume that the development of osteoarthritis is something that only strikes the old.