Occupational or Athletic Risks

occupational risks can lead to osteo arthritisAthletes put a lot of pressure on their bodies and have a high risk of having an injury occur which can lead to cartilage breakdown and the development of osteoarthritis. Competing in sports requires the repeated use of many different joints in our body. All of these joints are susceptible to damage, but the joints that carry the most weight and pressure are the joints in the knees due to all of the running and jumping. Overtime, this catches up with them and can create painful swelling in their joints from the degeneration of cartilage. Overuse is a common factor in this degeneration and is the leading cause of swelling and inflammation in athletes. Many different types of athletes experience injury and are in a high risk category for OA including runners, dancers, football/basketball/baseball players, cyclist, track & field athletes, etc.

If your occupation requires you to perform regular amounts of physical activity, you are also in a high risk category for developing OA. Farmers, construction workers, and many other physical laborers place themselves at risk of developing it. This may be due to years of lifting, hauling, carrying, crouching, climbing, and other labor intensive work that places pressure on the joints and wears cartilage down. There are many types of braces and assistive devices that make life easy for OA sufferers on the job. Knee braces support the joints during physical labor and can be worn at the job site. Back braces provide support for the spine during walking, which can relieve the knees and other joints by encouraging a person to use the proper mechanical form or gait while moving. There is a lot of information available (typically found in the human resources department of your work) such as “how to lift heavy things correctly” or “the proper way to walk up and down stairs,” etc. which can guide you in the ways of proper physical labor techniques and prevent injury in the work environment.