Osteoarthritis(OA) is known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, typically affecting adults ages 65 and older. It is a degenerative disease and occurs when cartilage between joints breaks down causing pain and stiffness, and even swelling. 27 million Americans are affected by this painful, chronic condition. While most sufferers are seniors, OA occurs in people of all ages. So, what causes young adults to develop this condition as well?

While we encourage our children to go out and be active as much as possible, young adults who are very active in sports are more apt to develop OA. High impact sport like hockey, soccer, rugby, and football put a lot of pressure and strain on the joints. These sports can also lead to joint injuries, which also make young adults more prone to developing osteoarthritis.

Genetics also play a role in early onset OA. Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of osteoarthritis cases come from hereditary disposition. The development of OA is determined by risk factors including: joint laxity, weight, biomechanical factors, muscle weakness, and comorbidity.

Young adults are typically affected by osteoarthritis in the knees, shoulders, and hips. Symptoms include reduced range of motion, stiffness, and localized pain in the affected area. It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose OA in young adults simply because of their age. They also may have a higher pain tolerance which could delay or otherwise affect a diagnosis.

When osteoarthritis is the diagnosis for a young adult, it’s important to remember to stay positive. Exercise is likely to be recommended as an initial form of treatment along with some muscle strengthening and stretching. An active lifestyle can be enjoyed for many years to come with proper management and treatment of OA symptoms.

If you or someone you love is struggling to manage symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, local studies for potential new treatment options are enrolling now. Those that qualify have access to potential new osteoarthritis treatments and are cared for by board-certified physicians. Qualified participants may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. Learn more about this new research opportunity by clicking HERE.