Our joints are wonderful things.  They can handle tremendous amounts of pressure and they do.   Did you know that on an average, in the simple act of walking, knees handle a force of 3 – 4 times the body weight of a person?  And that, in executing a deep knee bend in the course of a squat, the force can increase to nine times the body weight?   So just multiply 3 or 4 times an average body weight of a person of maybe 150 pounds, and you’ll see how much pressure the knee is undertaking for just the act of walking.  Include increased pressure for other activities and you’ll get the idea of just how much heavy work our knee joints undertake over time. Quite mind boggling isn’t it?

Let’s get a basic understanding of the scientific part of all this. 

The point where two bones meet is called the ‘joint’.  The ends of the bone are covered with protective ‘cartilage’ also called ‘gristle’.

This cartilage or gristle is strong and sturdy, elastic, and spongy (i.e. it is compressible) and prevents the bone ends from grinding against each other at the joint. 

The cells that make up this cartilage are called ‘chondrocytes’ and are considered to be the longest living cells in the human body.

The joint bones and cartilage are surrounded by a strong, fibrous capsule that is lined with ‘synovium’, made up of a thin membrane that lubricates the joint with fluid.  This results in reduced friction and smoother movement of the bones at the joint.  The fluid from the synovium also keeps the cartilage cells healthy by feeding them and is pumped into the cells during movement.  Therefore, lack of movement due to non-activity or exercise is not healthy.
Other features of the body involved in this scenario include muscles, tendons, ligaments, bursea and mental activity.

Contraction of the muscles that are attached to the bone with tendons and ligaments, causes the bones to move.  They also act as a cushion to movement by absorbing any impact or shock.

Bursea are sacs filled with fluid which are found throughout the muscle and tendon area.  These also aid in cushioning movement.
The brain is involved in all these activities.  It co-ordinates the workings of all these various parts by communicating via nerves spread out through the body, especially in the muscles to prepare the joints for upcoming activity.
The exact cause/s for arthritis is still being researched.  For most of the 100 or more forms of arthritis, the actual cause is yet to be discovered.  It is known that injury, overuse of joints, mechanical issues like skeletal abnormalities or worn out joint muscles can result in arthritis.  In addition, some point to issues relating to bacteria, germs and viruses as possible causes while heredity, stress, drugs, allergies, food habits, poor circulation and  lack of movement are also cited as likely cause for the disease.



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