Does Repetitive Motion Cause Arthritis?

Does Repetitive Motion Cause Arthritis?

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Arthritis is a very common joint disease that causes pain, inflammation, swelling, and weakness in the joints. Doctors are often asked if repetitive motion causes arthritis

Repetitive motion does not cause every type of arthritis; arthritis actually encompasses more than 100 joint diseases. The most common type of arthritis that can be caused by repetitive motion is osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms    

Osteoarthritis (also simply called “arthritis”) is a degenerative joint disease that breaks down the cartilage in joints. Cartilage is a rubbery material that covers the ends of the bones that meet at joints. Cartilage serves as a buffer between the bones and helps them glide against each other, without touching and damaging the ends of the bones.

The cartilage breakdown that is characteristic of arthritis causes pain, swelling, and weakness at the joints. These uncomfortable symptoms are specifically caused by bones that rub against each other without the buffer of cartilage protecting them. 

Repetitive Motion

Repetitive motion is when a person does the same activity or movement repeatedly. Let’s say your hobby is knitting. If you knit for hours every day of the week, you are doing repetitive motion with your hands. This can lead to overuse of your hands (which includes the hand’s joints) and to conditions like osteoarthritis.   

Many jobs require repetitive motion, including those in construction, offices, and manufacturing. Consequently, many workers develop injuries or conditions like arthritis. 

Dealing With Repetitive Motion

Repetitive motion can seem difficult to avoid, especially if you have a job or other commitment that requires it. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury or development of arthritis from repetitive motion. 

Take Breaks

If you have to do repetitive motion for several hours and cannot avoid it, you can add breaks to your routine. This can help change up the motions your body goes through, allowing your joints to get some rest. Diligently adding breaks to your routine can significantly help reduce the risk of injury caused by repetitive motion.

Use Ergonomic Equipment

Ergonomic furniture and accessories are designed to reduce pressure and strain on the body by optimizing comfort. Using ergonomic furniture like chairs, desks, or standing mats can help reduce strain on your joints. This prevents you from repeatedly doing motions that decrease your body’s comfort level.  

Exercise

If you cannot avoid repetitive motion, you can certainly add exercise to your routine. Exercise helps increase blood flow, strength, and flexibility in your body. Plus, it significantly reduces your risk of injury and conditions like osteoarthritis.

Orthopedists in Colorado

The board-certified physicians at Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence provide total orthopedic care for arthritis patients. Our doctors treat the many forms of arthritis, plus other orthopedic conditions and injuries. 

If you have arthritis or any other musculoskeletal condition, call (719) 623-1050 today to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to caring for all of your orthopedic needs with our comprehensive team approach.