Are Aching Joints Inevitable as I Age?

May 17, 2024
Are Aching Joints Inevitable as I Age?
You’re no longer jumping out of bed in the morning, thanks to achy joints that need a little time to warm up. Is this your new normal? Well, the answer is complicated, so we dive into it here. Keep reading!

You used to jump out of bed onto joints that carried you without complaint throughout the day. These days, not only is jumping of any kind out of the question thanks to achy joints, but moving in general is becoming increasingly difficult. Is this your new normal? Are aching joints just a fact of life as you get older? Yes and no. 

More than 92 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis or arthritis symptoms — joint pain and inflammation. The fact that these numbers skew toward older populations isn’t just a coincidence.

To provide more clarity on joint pain and aging, our team at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, PLLC, including Dr. Peter Fernandez and Dr. Amanda Fernandez, takes a deeper dive into the topic here.

Wear-and-tear on your joints over time

When we discuss chronic joint pain, we’re referring to arthritis — and there are more than 100 types of the disease. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to focus on wear-and-tear forms of the disease, such as osteoarthritis (OA), which affects more than 32.5 million Americans.

OA takes hold when the protective soft tissues that cover the bones in your joint — cartilage — begin to break down. The loss of cartilage allows your bones to rub together and paves the way toward bone spurs as your bones try to respond to the increased friction. As a result, you’re left with joint pain and inflammation.

So, if you're wondering whether OA is inevitable as you age, the answer is no. However, because it is a wear-and-tear disease, your risks rise as you age. 

Arthritis by the numbers

Another way to consider the role that age plays in aging is to look at it from a numbers perspective. As of right now, arthritis (in all its forms) is reported in 54.4 million Americans, but experts predict that this number will rise to 78.4 million by 2040.

Couple this number with the fact that, by 2030, the Baby Boomer generation in the United States will all be above the age of 65, and you can see that the increase in arthritis and the overall aging of our population are not coincidences.

Understand your risk factors for joint pain and arthritis

We’ve established that age is a significant risk factor for age-related joint pain, but what are your other risks? These include:

  • Being overweight 
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Previous injury

So, if you’re getting older, carrying extra pounds, and a smoker, your risks for joint pain are much higher than a 30-year-old non-smoker who’s of average weight.

Solutions for age-related joint pain

Our goal is to underscore the importance of reducing your risks for joint pain so that it isn’t inevitable as you age. Any steps you take toward addressing your risk factors will lead to more pain-free steps in the future.

Still, many people will develop age-related joint pain as they get older, even if they limit their risks. As an example, there’s little you can do about that broken ankle when you were younger that’s now a source of joint pain. 

However your joint pain appears, rest assured that we can respond with effective treatments to relieve your discomfort. From regenerative medicine to joint injections, we can help you move more freely, regardless of age.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of joint pain, please contact our Sarasota, Florida, office to schedule a consultation. Call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking request form.