Over 10 million people in the UK are living with arthritis, a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. While arthritis can affect people of all ages, it is most common in older adults. One significant concern for those with arthritis is the increased risk of falls, which can lead to serious injuries and further health complications.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of your joints.

Arthritis can be tricky because its symptoms vary widely and can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and disability. Early signs include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, and reduced range of motion, particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

What increases the risk of falls with arthritis?

Several factors contribute to the heightened risk of falling for those with arthritis:

  • Joint Pain and Stiffness: Pain and stiffness can make it difficult to move freely and maintain balance.
  • Reduced Mobility: Arthritis can limit your ability to move quickly or respond to sudden changes in your environment.
  • Muscle Weakness: Chronic pain can lead to reduced physical activity, causing muscle weakness and increasing fall risk.
  • Fatigue: The constant pain and inflammation associated with arthritis can lead to fatigue, making it harder to stay steady on your feet.
  • Medication Side Effects: Some arthritis medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, contributing to falls.

How do you manage arthritis and reduce fall risk?

Managing arthritis involves a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies designed to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of falls.

  • Medications: These can help manage pain and inflammation but must be carefully balanced to avoid side effects that could increase fall risk.
  • Physical Therapy: A tailored exercise program can improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
  • Occupational Therapy: Helps you adapt your home and daily routines to enhance safety and independence.
  • Regular Exercise: Activities like walking, swimming, and stretching can help maintain joint function and overall fitness.
  • Home Modifications: Simple changes like removing tripping hazards, using grab rails, and ensuring good lighting can make your home safer.

Take care every day

Living with arthritis requires attention to various aspects of your lifestyle to minimise the risk of falls:

  • Stay Active: Engage in regular, gentle exercises to improve your strength and balance.
  • Healthy Diet: Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support overall health and joint function.
  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration can help prevent dizziness and light-headedness.
  • Medication Management: Take your medications as prescribed and discuss any side effects with your doctor.
  • Regular Check-ups: Keep up with medical appointments to monitor your condition and adjust treatments as necessary.

How Carecall can help

Technology is available to help with the management of long-term health conditions like arthritis. Falls are a significant concern for people with Parkinson's, and reducing the risk of falls is crucial for maintaining independence and quality of life.

If you or someone you care for is prone to falling or dizzy spells and is living with arthritis, call us today on 0161 218 1655 to discuss how our Carecall Service can help them remain independent in their own home.