From your choice of footwear to your favorite morning beverage, you might be surprised by some of the things that can increase your risk of developing arthritis. About 50 million American adults are currently living with some form of arthritis, a chronic health condition that causes pain and stiffness in and around one or more body joints. Some well-known risk factors for developing arthritis are unavoidable (your age, your gender), while others, like being overweight or obese, are under your control. But there are other factors you may not be aware of that researchers say can ultimately lead to arthritis pain. Read on to uncover some surprising things that can contribute to developing arthritis. New York City Chiropractor, Dr. Jeff Jamieson has extensive experience aiding his patients in relieving pain from arthritis. The below list is only a small percentage of risk factors and not to be taken as a solitary comprehensive list.
Stiletto High Heels
“When wearing high heels, women increase loading [pressure] across their knee in a way that might increase knee arthritis,” says rheumatologist David Felson, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University School of Medicine in Boston. Dr. Felson says that the narrow toe box found on many shoes probably contributes to some arthritis in the foot. Consider wearing heels less often in your thirties and forties to reduce your arthritis risk.
If you’re constantly sending text messages and your thumbs are starting to feel a little creaky and painful, all that texting could be the cause. Unlimited texts might be great for your bottom line, but the habit could be increasing your risk of developing arthritis in your hand. The data aren’t in yet, partly because arthritis can take many decades to develop and texting is a relatively recent phenomenon. But it’s still a good idea to give your thumbs a break when you can.
Many people know that broken bones contribute to arthritis pain. It’s true that not all broken bones are arthritis risk factors, but broken bones increase the risk of arthritis in the joint near the bone, says Felson. “The reason for that is it changes the way the joint is loaded,” he says. “The load across the joint isn’t distributed the same way anymore, especially if the break goes through the joint, which some do.” Take time to heal and do any recommended physical therapy to help prevent developing arthritis.
Decaffeinated Coffee and Regular Tea
Previous research has suggested a strong link between drinking decaffeinated coffee and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA).Drinking regular black tea (especially after menopause) also appears to be linked. “There is no link with osteoarthritis,” stresses the research. If you are concerned about rheumatoid arthritis, you could try other types of hot drinks. Decaffeinated or herbal teas seem to be completely free of any association with arthritis risk.
You probably don’t know how important your knees are until arthritis pain strikes. The knee is a complicated joint, and it’s vulnerable to injury because it isn’t surrounded by a lot of soft tissue. As a result, even a torn ligament in the knee can contribute to arthritis risk. Protect your knees — and care for them as directed if they are injured.
Long Ring Finger
Research is mixed on whether having a ring finger longer than an index finger truly is predictive of developing arthritis in women, says Felson. If it is true, he says there really isn’t much you can do about it. “We know that some knee arthritis and hand arthritis is inherited, and this may provide a clue about anatomic abnormalities that lead you to get arthritis,” he explains. What can you do? Take care of your joints, stay active, and maintain a healthy weight.
Flat feet are Felson’s area of research. “People with flat feet have a higher risk of knee pain and a higher risk of arthritis in the inner aspect of the knee,” says Felson. This is because flat feet alter the loading of the body’s weight from the foot up through the leg and the knee. If you have flat feet, you may be able to reduce arthritis risk by adding support in your shoe to correct the imbalance.
To learn more about Dr. Jamieson’s chiropractic service or further medical articles please visit his practice at Ageonics Medical.