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Do repeated motions cause osteoarthritis?

Yes, repeated motion can cause osteoarthritis. But, generally osteoarthritis occurs over many years. Additionally, there here is likely some component of inflammation involved. The general aging process is well known to cause some degree of osteoarthritis.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Repeated motions, also called repetitive motions, don't usually cause osteoarthritis (OA) directly. They're much more likely to cause muscle injuries. Repetitive motion disorders (RMDs) include bursitis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. These disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of OA, including pain, swelling and loss of flexibility in a joint. However, these symptoms are usually caused by swelling that presses on nerves, not by damage to the cartilage in the joint. If your RMD goes untreated for a long time, it can lead to further damage to the joint that could, in turn, lead to OA.

Body motions that cause injury to joints can cause osteoarthritis (OA) down the line, often many years later. But not everyone who suffered a joint injury—say, due to an accident or sport—gets OA and plenty of people with OA never injured their joints. We still don't know the underlying cause for many cases of osteoarthritis. Being physically active is a good way to prevent OA. When you keep moving, you keep your bones and muscles strong and improve joint flexibility. Physical activity is a main treatment for OA.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Repetitive motions, such as repeatedly twisting the wrist on the job or in normal activities, can cause muscle or nerve problems such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. If the repetitive motion disorder isn't treated, it may cause further damage, including injuries to tendons and ligaments. That, in turn, may lead to osteoarthritis in the affected joint.

Also, joint injuries, especially those that involve ligaments, can lead to osteoarthritis. Even when the injury has healed well on its own or has been surgically repaired, osteoarthritis may develop years later. A study of people with knee osteoarthritis showed that nearly one in four had injured a ligament in their knee earlier in life, often without knowing it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15751064

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Any job that requires bending, lifting, kneeling, or any other repetitive motions could increase your risk not just for tendonitis (like tennis elbow) but for osteoarthritis as well.

Ligament injuries may lead to osteoarthritis years later, even if the injury healed well on its own or was surgically repaired. A study of people with severe knee osteoarthritis showed that nearly one in four had injured a ligament in the knee earlier in life, often without knowing it.

Yes. Repeated motions could lead to join injuries. Years of putting extreme stress and wear and tear on your joints can lead to osteoarthritis. Even when the injury has healed well on its own or been surgically repaired, osteoarthritis can hit years later. So be kind to your joints and stick to low-impact activities like appropriately done resistance exercises (have a trainer teach you and check your form periodically), plus walking, swimming or yoga. Your joints will thank you later.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.