Yes, it is a well-known fact that over time the body sustains greater levels of wear and tear and that osteoarthritis is more common in the elderly than it is in any other age group. However, it is by no means a condition exclusively synonymous with old age. There are other significant factors that play a role in whether or not you develop the disease at a younger age:

1. Family History

Studies have proved that osteoarthritis runs in families. So if your mother, aunt, or grandmother suffered, you are more likely to develop the disease also. A study by the University of Tasmania found that, after a ten-year period, 76 percent of the offspring of people who had a least one parent who had undergone total knee replacement for severe primary knee osteoarthritis, experienced knee pain themselves1.

2. Obesity

Obesity is officially recognised as one of the most serious causes of ill health in the world. Being overweight means you’re 4 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure2. The more weight on your joints, the greater the strain, which leads to wearing away of the cartilage. And in all cases obesity makes the condition worse. So, at any age, you are risking developing the disease and living with pain if you are significantly overweight.

3. Injuries

Existing joint injuries, such as cruciate ligament and meniscal tears of the knee together with the resulting surgeries to correct them, have left many young people suffering the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Any kind of surgery that displaces or reduces the tissues that act as a shock absorber for the joints, can lead to serious degeneration and the onset of osteoarthritis however old you are.

Living with the disease is difficult at any age but it’s particularly difficult for younger people. Around 15,000 children alone, in the UK, suffer with JIA (juvenile idiopathic arthritis). Symptoms range from mild to debilitating (to the extent that they can’t cut their own food) and regardless of intensity, the pain and fatigue often curtails their enjoyment and negatively impacts quality of life at an age when they should be enjoying themselves.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments available, and exercise and diet are known to help the condition. For more information, please refer to our other blog posts. If you are suffering with joint pain, we are able to help. We have various treatment plans, including the new ground breaking Viscosupplements injection for knee osteoarthritis, which minimise side effects and produce excellent results. Contact us on 0207-118-1771 to see how we can help.

1 http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/news/general-news/2014/december/family-history-of-osteoarthritis-can-increase-risk-of-knee-pain.aspx
2 http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/obesity-arthritis/fat-and-arthritis.php