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The word "arthritis" makes many people think of painful, stiff joints. In reality, there are many kinds of knee arthritis, each with different symptoms and treatments. Dr. Joel Smith, an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Sharp HealthCare, clears up three common misconceptions about knee arthritis.

1. Arthritis is a disease that only older people get.

Nearly 40 million Americans — or 1 in every 7 people — has arthritis. Arthritis is not age- or gender-specific. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions; some are more commonly found in certain groups. For example, osteoarthritis (OA) most often occurs in older adults. OA results when the cartilage that pads bones in a joint begins to wear away. When the cartilage has worn away, the bones rub against each other. OA most often happens in the hands, neck, lower back, hips and knees.

2. Arthritis is made worse by weather.

There may be something to this one. There are different theories about why weather might affect arthritis — the most common has to do with barometric pressure. For example, if a patient has an inflamed joint that is subject to swelling, decreased barometric pressure would allow the inflamed tissue to swell more because there is less atmospheric pressure holding the tissue back. If there are nerves in that tissue, those nerves would be stimulated by the swelling and translate into pain. Cold weather might also influence arthritic symptoms. There's not much research that shows cold weather directly causes or affects arthritis, but some studies have shown that the lower the barometric pressure, the more aches and pains felt by people with arthritis. Additionally, we know cold weather tends to create conditions like a less active lifestyle that can lead to arthritic symptoms.

3. Arthritis can be cured.

The short answer is that there has been no scientific evidence that a cure for arthritis currently exists. Many discoveries and advancements have been made in terms of better treatment options and slowing disease progression. Because arthritis is a lifelong condition, it's important to learn about it — including how to control symptoms and options for finding relief from pain — to help you live your best possible life.

If you or someone you love is living with knee pain, join Sharp HealthCare at one of three free seminars to learn about the latest treatment options for knee arthritis.

  • Wednesday, August 23, 6-7:30 pm at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
  • Wednesday, August 23, 6-7:30 pm hosted by Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center at St. Paul’s Plaza, Chula Vista
  • Thursday, August 24, 6-8 pm, at Sharp Memorial Hospital

A team of orthopedic specialists including a surgeon, physical therapist and care manager will discuss non-surgical and surgical treatment options, and the role of physical therapy in recovery, followed by a Q&A session. Registration is free but space is limited. Register online at

Nationally recognized for excellence in total joint replacement, Sharp HealthCare takes a comprehensive approach to knee treatment, partnering with patients and family members through the duration of their journey, from preparation to recovery. It’s all part of the extraordinary level of care called The Sharp Experience.

Don’t ignore your knee pain. Register today for one of Sharp HealthCare’s free seminars at or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).

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