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Do You Have This Arthritis Warning Sign

Cardiac Rehab
You might not think a nagging pain in your knee as you climb to the second floor warrants medical attention. But a new study suggests a compelling reason to visit your doctor at the first sign of knee pain when you ascend or descend steps. 

Pain on stairs could serve as the first warning sign of osteoarthritis, the findings show. The good news is early treatment can help you stop the disease before the joint sustains major damage.

Spotting The First Sign
Researchers studied more than 4,500 people at high risk for arthritis. Each year for seven years, participants reported whether they felt pain in one or both knees while walking, using stairs, lying in bed, sitting down, or standing.
Among those who went on to develop arthritis, pain appeared first on the stairs. That’s according to results published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. The authors suspect it’s because moving up or down steps involves bending your knee while putting weight on it. Even in the early stages of arthritis, this combo can trigger aches.

Other Early Symptoms

By age 85, about half of Americans will have osteoarthritis. Doctors aren’t sure why it occurs. But they do know that over time, the cartilage that cushions your joints breaks down, causing pain, stiffness, and limited movement.
The new findings represent an opportunity to intervene early, before osteoarthritis progresses. Talk with your doctor if you have this or other signs of knee arthritis, including:
•Swelling
•A crunching feeling in your knee
•Stiffness when you first wake up in the morning or after staying in one position for a long time

If you have osteoarthritis, these symptoms tend to grow more persistent. At your visit, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms, examine your joints and muscles, and perhaps take X-rays. If you do have osteoarthritis, treatment can control pain and improve joint function so that you can live a healthy life.

Are you experiencing arthritis symptoms?A rheumatologist at New Milford Hospital can evaluate and treat your condition. To find a rheumatologist near you, click here and click on "Find a Rheumatologist."


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