Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. A joint is the area where two bones meet. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.
Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects a joint, allowing it to move smoothly. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, such as when you walk. Without the normal amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.
Joint inflammation may result from:
- An autoimmune disease (the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue)
- Broken bone
- General “wear and tear” on joints
- Infection, usually by bacteria or virus
Usually the joint inflammation goes away after the cause goes away or is treated. Sometimes it does not. When this happens, you have chronic arthritis. Arthritis may occur in men or women.Osteoarthritis is the most common type.
The CDC Arthritis Program recommends evidence-based programs that are proven to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis. The programs currently being promoted are —
- Four self-management education programs.
- Six physical activity programs.
- Two health communications campaigns promoting physical activity.
Each Program description also includes information about how to locate these programs in your state. Self-management education programs like the Arthritis Self Management Program (ASMP) and Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSMP) help teach people with arthritis techniques to manage arthritis on a day-to-day basis. Research has shown that appropriate physical activity offers substantial benefits to people with arthritis and can decrease arthritis pain and disability. Preliminary studies have shown theArthritis Foundation Exercise Program (formerly People with Arthritis Can Exercise or PACE), theArthritis Foundation Aquatic Program, EnhanceFitness, Walk With Ease, Active Living Every Day, andFit and Strong! to be both safe and effective for people with arthritis. In addition to these physical activity programs, self-directed physical activity can be beneficial. A physical activity fact sheet and information detailing the importance of physical activity for people with arthritis are available. Intervention programs with promising evaluation data and which are building the infrastructure to support program delivery across the country are labeled “Promising Programs”. There are currently four intervention programs on our list of Promising Programs. There are currently two physical activity interventions on our “Watch List” for possible recommendation; Watch List programs are currently undergoing evaluation to determine their effects on the health of people with arthritis.
A compendium of CDC Arthritis Program recommended evidence-based programs is now available. The purpose of this compendium is to assist you in selecting interventions by providing a concise, standardized review of each intervention. Compendium of Arthritis Appropriate Physical Activity and Self-Management Education Interventions [PDF - 1.06MB]