Arthritis is the nation’s most common cause of disability, according to the Arthritis Foundation. One in five U.S. adults is diagnosed with some form of arthritis and more than 340,000 Central Texans deal with the pain, swelling and joint damage it causes. That includes more than 2,300 children in Central Texas with juvenile arthritis. Local experts say rates continue to rise.
Dr. Kevin Bozic, who serves both as Chair of Surgery and Perioperative Care for the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, and as Medical Director for Seton’s Musculoskeletal Service Line, treats patients with the condition and is a long-time Arthritis Walk participant.
“Arthritis has a major impact on the lives of people who suffer from it, and there’s a societal cost when people can’t do all of the things they want and need to do,” Bozic said. “In sponsoring Austin’s Walk to Cure Arthritis, Ascension Seton is raising awareness about this debilitating condition as well as funding to help cure it – both of which are badly needed.”
Texas Orthopedics surgeon Dr. Randall Schultz says arthritis rates typically follow obesity trends.
“Our cartilage wears out more quickly with increasing stress, especially from added pounds — much like the tread on a tire,” Shultz said.
He encourages patients looking to prevent or treat arthritis symptoms to start with two steps:
- Begin an exercise routine, one that focuses on cross-training.
- Steer clear of weight-bearing exercise, which can speed up damage on weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and ankles.
Although treatment options have improved over the years, both experts agree there’s still a pressing need to fund research.
“Joint replacement surgery is a highly successful treatment option for people who can’t manage the pain and disability of arthritis,” he said, “We hope that tissue regeneration in the form of biologics may one day become a viable treatment option as well.”
The Walk to Cure Arthritis Austin raises funds to find a cure while educating the community about this serious disease and helping those suffering it to stay active.