World-class triathlete, Kristin Armstrong from U.S competed in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships was diagnosed with osteo- arthritis. Cheryl Koehn was competing as an Olympic level volleyball player when she was officially diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the right knee. Regardless of the arthritis pain, these dedicated athletes continue to compete and succeed in the games with physical stamina, mental discipline and determination.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common type of arthritis that affect people around the world. In the Global Burden of Disease study (2010), it was estimated that 251 million people suffered from osteoarthritis worldwide. It is considered the second greatest cause of disability worldwide.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disorder characterized by degeneration of joint cartilage that results in pain, stiffness, swelling and interfere with joint movement.
It was once thought to be a progressive disease of the elderly. In fact, more and more young people and athletes are predispose to osteoarthritis owing to risk factors such as obesity, joint injury, intensive exercises and genetics.
How Osteoarthritis Happened?
Human skeleton is composed of 206 bones and they are connected by joints. The normal joint consists of cartilage, a flexible connective tissue that act as a cushion on the end of the bone and provide mechanical support. Repetitive movements can thinned the cartilage faster. Eventually, the cartilage is completely wear away, resulting in bone rubbing against bone, leads to painful sensation and reduced mobility.
A Major Threat To Athletes
The prevalence of osteoarthritis, especially on the knee and hips, are higher in athletes compared to non-athletes. This is because athletes spend more time in sports and resulting in higher risk of “wear and tear” joint condition. Besides, the chances for athletes to get injure during athletic activities is also high. Such joint injury destabilizes the joint and cause degeneration of the cartilage which then increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. It has been shown that more than 80% of American football players with a history of knee injury were diagnosed with osteoarthritis 10 to 30 years after competing.
Conventional Approaches To Overcome Joint Pain
The main objective of treatment for athletes that suffered from osteoarthritis is to minimize pain and enable them to continue playing the sports. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is common among athletes to reduce inflammation and pain. However, it only provides short term relief and it may bring harm to gastrointestinal system and renal function.
Inevitably, exercise is an effective approach for osteoarthritis sufferers to reduce joint pain as it increases strength and flexibility of the joint. However, it is wise to choose the right exercise. Try to avoid sports that cause direct blunt trauma to joints such as football, hockey and rugby. Muscle-strengthening exercise, aquatic exercise and low impact aerobic exercise are beneficial to active athletes by reducing pain and improve physical function. Other treatments of osteoarthritis include the usage of knee bracing to support the joint, weight reduction and the usage of complementary medicine, glucosamine and chondroitin.
Stay Active With Glucosamine And Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two clinically proven nutritional compounds that help to relieve joint pain, promote cartilage formation and improve joint flexibility. Glucosamine is a natural amino sugar which is produced naturally in the body. It plays a major role in building and repairing cartilage. On the other hand, chondroitin is one of the most abundant component in the cartilage that act as water magnet to attract water to lubricate joint and provide shock absorption. Besides, chondroitin also block enzymes that break down cartilage. According to Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) study, combination of 1500mg of glucosamine and 1200mg of chondroitin is more effective than celecoxib (NSAIDs) in relieving knee pain from osteoarthritis.
- JointHealth monthly, 2012. Living actively with arthritis.http://jointhealth.org/programs-jhmonthly-view.cfm?id=137
- Management of osteoarthritis (Second Edition), 2013. Malaysia Health Technology Assessment Section (MaHTAS).
- Amoako, A.O. & Pujalte, G.G.A., 2014. Osteoarthritis in young, active and athletic individuals. Clin. Med. Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet. Disord., 7:27-32.
- Clegg, D.O. et al. 2006. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. The New England Journal of Medicine, 354(8): 795-808.
Diagnosing osteoarthritis in athletes or young individual can be challenging as their pain tolerance is higher. Prevention is better than cure. Act now, before go go go become ow ow ow! Let’s supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin to stay active and healthy all the time!. This article is brought to you by BiO-LiFE Marketing Sdn Bhd. For details, please call Customer Care 03-78828888 or visit us at www.biolife.com.my