The risks of arthritis in athletes



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Being active has a range of health benefits, but if you’re pushing yourself to achieve lofty goals it can carry extra risk factors. If you’re an athlete at an amateur or professional level or someone who simply loves taking part in your chosen sport then you are at extra risk of developing osteoarthritis. It’s important to remember that osteoarthritis is different from rheumatoid arthritis. The latter is an autoimmune disease, that causes inflammation in the synovial membrane that protects the joints.

Why are athletes at greater risk of arthritis?

When you train hard for longer, you put increased stress on your body, particularly vulnerable joints such as your knees. Working hard at your chosen sport increase the risk of fractures and torn ligaments, particularly through bruised cartilage and joints. The more you train, the greater the risk. If you’re serious about achieving results in your chosen activity, particularly at the highest level then you are placing a considerable strain on your body.

The repetitive movements associated with sporting activities place physical stress on joints, which over time leads to the erosion of cartilage. This can eventually wear down the surfaces of joints, leading to pain caused by the inflammation. A properly staged training regime is important to help build up your body to cope with the extra effort that is being asked of it. Failure to prepare properly for more energetic and sustained activity can lead to problems.

If you’re pushing yourself to achieve your sporting goals, it’s important to understand the risks and what can be done to minimise them.

What can you do if you develop arthritis as a result of your sporting activities?

Managing sports-related arthritis

Often professional athletes will develop osteoarthritis. In severe cases, it can mean the end of their career, in other instances, it can be overcome or managed. Many athletes may choose to visit a rheumatology clinic London, where they treat patients holistically, looking at how pain can be better managed and reduced.

A rheumatologist can identify and help you manage your arthritis as you build up resilience. By visiting a rheumatology clinic London athletes trust, you should be able to enjoy your sport and continue to work hard to achieve results.