The primary risk factor forOsteoarthritis is age. Cartilage is a type of tissue that cushions your joints. This results in pain and mobility loss.

Research into the effect of COVID-19 on osteoarthritis symptoms is still ongoing. However, COVID-19 seems to worsen symptoms of osteoarthritis in some people. This may be due to the increase in system-wide inflammation while your body responds to the virus.

Read on to learn about what we know so far about how COVID-19 — and life during the pandemic — may impact people with osteoarthritis.

Currently, there is not a large body of evidence suggesting that COVID-19 triggers the onset of osteoarthritis. Research into the potential impact of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, on cartilage degeneration or synovial inflammation in joints is still in its early stages.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes an inflammatory response in the body. Low grade inflammation of the synovial membrane, which lines your joints (synovitis), has been found to trigger the onset of osteoarthritis.

Data indicates that low grade inflammation can also generate a large number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which may contribute to cartilage destruction. This could ultimately cause or worsen osteoarthritis. However, a definitive connection between COVID-19, inflammation, and osteoarthritis has not been established in research.

There are other factors that can make your osteoarthritis symptoms worse than they are. The impact is due to lifestyle changes, as people have spent more time in quachicle, lost access to spaces to exercise, and gone out less.

A 2021 review of multiple studies found that people with physical disabilities and chronic conditions became more sedentary during the pandemic. Participation in physical activities that support joint health often lessened due to gym closures and reduced social activity.

Exercises that support muscle strengthening and flexibility have been shown to improve OA symptoms. The inability to enjoy physical pursuits and sports might also lead to weight gain, which can contribute to osteoarthritis severity.

The pandemic has also caused a worsening of mental health conditions and symptoms. Depression and anxiety can increase stress levels and contribute to you forgoing hobbies and activities that can be good for overall well-being and joint health.

Joint and muscle pain are common osteoarthritis symptoms. These are also symptoms of COVID-19. People who have symptoms temporarily will not experience muscle and joint pain.

It has been linked to worsening osteoarthritis symptoms. It has not been proven to cause the start of osteoarthritis. Many people experience muscle and joint pain during their illness, not due to osteoarthritis.

However, 2022 research explains that studies on musculoskeletal pain in people with COVID-19 indicate that these symptoms can persist for 6 months or longer after the initial infection. Some affected people experienced widespread joint and muscle pain throughout the body. Others had pain in specific joints, including the knee, foot, ankle, and shoulder. These areas of the body are also affected by osteoarthritis.

“It is difficult to know how COVID-19 will affect our daily lives. Even if you can’t access regular hobbies, exercise or social spaces because of the viral infection, you still need to take care of your overall health.”

Consider incorporating some of the tips for staying active during the Pandemic.

  • Enjoy other physical activities outdoors.
  • Use an at- home treadmill.
  • You can use free online videos and instructions to exercise at home.
  • if you have a SilverSneakers membership through Medicare Part C or a Medigap plan, you have access to live video exercise classes you can attend from home
  • maintain a balanced diet, which includes eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean protein
  • eat foods high in phytonutrients and dietary polyphenols, such as freeze-dried strawberries and tart cherry juice, which may help slow the progression of osteoarthritis
  • Continue to see your doctor for symptom and pain management.

“You and your doctor can assess your treatment regimen based on your symptoms. If you can’t exercise at home, your doctor may recommend that you see a physical or occupational therapist.”

Treatments for the disease.

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including NSAIDs (Aleve, Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol for mild to moderate pain relief
  • duloxetine and diclofenac are prescription medications for chronic pain.
  • OTC topical arthritis creams, including OTC Voltaren gel and brand-name prescription Pennsaid gel
  • The injections of cortisone.
  • The injections of hyaluronic acid.

Osteoarthritis should not stop you from getting a vaccine.

Vaccinations and booster shots are the best way to reduce your risk of disease. Some people with drug allergies may not be a good candidate for a vaccine. You can reach out to your doctor for vaccine counseling.

Other strategies that reduce your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 include social distancing and wearing a face mask. Make sure to wear a high quality mask, such as a KN95 or KF94.

“In general, avoid crowded areas and events with a vaccine requirement. If you contract the virus, follow the doctor’s instructions and avoid contact with people who have it.”

Have rapid home tests on hand for if and when you need them and seek out COVID-19 testing after a possible exposure. COVID-19 Test-to-Treat centers are now an option and may also potentially provide access to anti-viral medications, like Paxlovid, at no cost.

If you have no symptoms, regular testing may catch a case of COVID-19 early, helping you take proper precautions. You can transmit the virus without ever feeling sick if you have a case of the viral infection.

Osteoarthritis and COVID-19 can cause pain. Many people who have a case of COVID-19 will only have to manage them for a short time.

COVID-19 may make people with existing osteoarthritis worse. There is no concrete connection between COVID-19 and osteoarthritis onset or symptom impact, so these findings are tentative and research is ongoing.

“The impact of the Pandemic has reduced people’s activity levels and increased rates of depression, anxiety and stress. These factors can make the symptoms of chronic conditions worse.”

Both OA and COVID-19 are treatable.

“The best way to help ensure you don’t contract the disease is to practice scientifically proven measures for preventing the spread of the disease. If eligible, this includes getting vaccine.”