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Physical Therapy For Arthritis: What Are the Signs of Early Onset Arthritis?

Physical Therapy For Arthritis

When most young individuals think about arthritis, they tend to brush it aside, considering it an exclusively geriatric disease for the older generations. However, arthritis can affect young people as well. So it’s important to know some of the signs of early-onset arthritis and how physical therapy for arthritis can help.

Forms of Arthritis

Arthritis refers to inflammation in the joints. While arthritis can come in many different forms (approximately 100), the most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack joints. Typically, it begins in the lining of the joints and breaks down healthy tissue over time. Patients who suffer with osteoarthritis often deal with recurring pain, stiffness, and inflammation due to the breakdown of cartilage which can cause bones to rub together. Other health conditions which may have arthritic signs and symptoms include Gouty Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Lyme Disease.

Besides the obvious symptoms of joint stiffness and pain, a number of other indicators can signify that arthritis is on the way. Some signs are subtle and can be easily ignored. Be aware of the signs to ensure you’re taking the best care of your health and quality of life.

How Common is Arthritis in Young People?

When someone who is physically active injures a joint, often their first thought is, “how fast can I get back to my activity?” That kind of thinking, however, could lead to painful problems years later. In fact, arthritis in seniors can often be traced back to an improperly rehabilitated injury or health condition that occurred when the senior was much younger. Frequently a high school injury not taken seriously then, can become an issue for years to come until finally given the attention always required.

It will always be tempting to jump right back in the game, but adequate recovery measures are critical.

Additionally, just because you’re in your 30s, or even 20s, doesn’t mean you can’t develop arthritis.
In fact, the chances that a young adult will develop this painful disease are more common than previously thought. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 7 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 have been diagnosed with arthritis. For adults ages 44 to 65, the number increases to almost 30 percent.

Risk Factors for Arthritis

Different forms of arthritis have their own set of risk factors. But, certain factors, such as family history, age, previous joint injuries, infection, or autoimmune factors, are commonly the ones most often at play. Lifestyle risk factors, such as obesity, high-level sports, occupational hazards (manual labor or repetitive motion), and smoking can also increase the risk of developing arthritis and worsen the condition.

In fact, adults aged 18 years or older who are overweight or obese report doctor-diagnosed arthritis more often than adults with a lower body mass index (BMI).

If you suspect that you or your loved one has arthritis, it is very important a physical therapy evaluation is performed as soon as possible to determine the severity of the arthritis. A well thought out physical therapy rehabilitation plan of care can decrease the impact of arthritis on the individual.

What Are Some Signs of Early Onset Arthritis?

Fatigue & Flu-Like Symptoms

Of course, fatigue can be a sign for a lot of different things. But, if your doctor has ruled out other health conditions, chronic fatigue, when combined with a loss of appetite, high temperature and weight loss can add up to early warning signs of RA.


Redness around your joints can occur from inflammation of arthritis. Gout, a common form of early arthritis, is caused by uric acid crystals that collect in the joints. One common location of this is often seen is the big toe.


Swelling can vary in those affected by arthritis. While it’s usually dependent on physical activity and dietary choices, this swelling, due to the overproduction of synovial fluid, can lead to increasingly painful and stiff joints. The swelling can also cause a reduction in range of motion, as well as weakness that makes daily activities more difficult.

Hot & Painful Joints

If you are experiencing hot and/or painful joints, knowing the details matter. When you review your symptoms with your doctor, you will be asked if the joint pain came on suddenly or manifested gradually and how long the pain has persisted. Unless you’re able to point to a specific injury, arthritis could be a possibility.


One of the earliest signs of arthritis is joint stiffness after a period of inactivity (such as sitting for an extended period of time or when first moving upon waking up in the morning). But arthritis can also be commonly mistaken for an injury itself or a result of being sore from doing too much activity.

8 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Arthritis Pain

Physical therapy treatment has proven to be an effective treatment for impairments related to arthritis. Risk of surgery and the need for pain medications may be reduced. Although symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person, starting an individualized treatment program can slow the condition’s advance.

Physical therapy can help patients reduce the impact of arthritis by:
1. Performing an in-depth examination to determine the root cause of symptoms. Even environmental factors need to be explored as they may be triggering the arthritis pain.
2. Evaluating what movement and activities may be difficult for the patient.
3. Developing an individualized treatment program to help the patient improve their range of motion, support muscle strength and enhance optimal joint functionality.
4. The use of hands-on physical therapy to provide chronic pain relief.
5. Providing education to help the patient adjust their day-to-day activities and reduce the strain on joints.
6. Designing and teaching at-home exercise programs to help improve movement and quality of life.
7. Incorporating balance components into the treatment plan to help improve gait, mobility, and joint function and reduce the risk of falling.
8. Progressing the patient safely to restore optimal function and continue improving mental well-being through positive reinforcement.

Do Your Joints Hurt? Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy for Arthritis May Help

Arthritis is one of the leading causes of work disability among US adults. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with arthritis in your knee, shoulder, hip or other joint, you’re probably looking for ways to find joint pain relief and slow the disease’s progression down.

While there is no cure for this disease, Physical Therapy for arthritis, also known as arthritis rehabilitation, can provide relief for those suffering from pain and stiffness due to different types of arthritis such as inflammatory arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, hip arthritis, septic arthritis, and degenerative arthritis. Using a combination of exercises, manual therapy, and pain reducing modalities, this conservative, non-invasive, and effective treatment can help you regain or improve mobility and function so you can live an active, pain-free life.

Call the skilled experts at 1-877-304-3000 or schedule an appointment to learn more about our physical therapy for arthritis programs designed to help you restore mobility, reduce overall pain and increase function levels.

Why Choose Twin Boro Physical Therapy

Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 38 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.

It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.

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