I’m only in my mid-30s, but I have the beginning signs of arthritis in my foot and ankle. Nearly every woman in my family develops arthritis eventually, so I used to think joint pain and stiffness was inevitable as I aged. I recently discovered that arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability. One in every five adults has arthritis; that’s 50 million people in the US. 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. There is no cure, but there are simple steps that can reduce pain, increase mobility and slow osteoarthritis progression.
World Arthritis Day is October 12, 2012. In partnership with the Ad Council, the Arthritis Foundation is trying to raise awareness about their Fight Arthritis Pain campaign. I’m supporting the campaign because I’ve seen how debilitating arthritis has been for family members, and I’m determined to “fight” back against the pain I once dismissed as “normal aging.” The Arthritis Foundation stresses the importance of “movement” for those already fighting arthritis as well as those who simply want to take preventative steps to reduce the impact on their joints.
The Fight Arthritis Pain website encourages everyone to select and share their weapon against Arthritis pain. On weapons.fightarthritispain.org, you can see what weapons other users have suggested. I’ll confess that I’m not a big fan of exercise. I’m a working mom, and my attempt to juggle two young boys and a full-time job exhausts me. Finding time to go to the gym is just not practical for me since it’s hard enough to find time to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours a night. Sometimes I’ll feel motivated enough to exercise only to be stopped by bad pain in my foot and ankle.
Many people give up their favorite sport when pain gets in the way. The Arthritis Foundation calls this being “retired from exercise.” But they explain that it is possible– and highly recommended– to stay active. With some adjustments or new routines, even someone as out of shape as I am can get back into exercise.
My first “Weapon against Arthritis Pain” is a new pair of shoes with arch-support to control the pronation that further strains my ankle. (For tips on dealing with arthritis in your feet or ankle, click here.) My next weapon is strength training and yoga– with a focus on posture exercises and a goal of losing weight (to reduce the impact on my joints). The Arthritis Foundation suggests that out-of-shape people like me start “start low and go slow.” A sudden increase in activity increases the risk of joint or muscle injury.
What’s your weapon against arthritis pain? How will you protect your health and your mobility? Brain Teacher, a tennis pro fights the arthritis he developed in his thirties by playing the sport he loves.
For more information, visit FightArthritisPain.org. If you aren’t sure if you’re at risk of developing Osteoarthritis (OA), you can take a free risk assessment here and then find tips on how to manage osteoarthritis pain or how to delay or even avoid the onset of OA symptoms at the Pain Tip App (tipshare.fightarthritispain.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but I do consulting work on behalf of The Ad Council, which is how I learned about these tools. However, all opinions are my own.
About the Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org):Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability. TheArthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of public service advertising campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook,follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.