Tennis and rheumatoid arthritis: What you need to know

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Tennis and rheumatoid arthritis: What you need to know

Caroline Wozniacki has the rheumatoid arthritis, insidious pathology characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and asthenia. The discovery, which was announced in a press conference in the WTA Finals in Singapore, dates back to two months ago, just before the US Open.

After the defeat against Elina Svitolina and the consequent elimination from the WTA Finals, the Dane talked about the bad news: "At the beginning, it was a real shock.You feel like the athlete in better shape and suddenly this is what you have to face.

That's how it is, but I have to stay positive and manage it.There are so many ways to make it better. It took me a while to realize what was happening after the US Open, but I went to the best doctors and I started the treatment." But what exactly is the rheumatoid arthritis? And how does it affect performance and life of athletes? Physiology and Behavior, and Sport and Rheumatoid Arthritis have tried to give an answer in their studies.

Below you can find the abstarct of these two interesting articles. The role of physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis, by Physiology & Behavior:
"Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory auto-immune disease, causing progressive damage to the musculoskeletal system.

Many patients with RA also suffer from accelerated muscle loss or cachexia, which contributes to the loss of physical function and quality of life. Physical activity plays a central role in the management of the disease as it is essential to maintain muscle strength and endurance, range of motion and the ability to perform activities of daily life.

On the other hand, given the nature of the disease, there is always an increased risk for injury. There is a large amount of literature investigating the effect of exercise interventions on muscle function and disease activity.

These studies show that exercise clearly improves muscle function without affecting disease activity. Studies including radiographic evaluation of joint damage as an endpoint also show that there is no evidence that exercise, even high-intensity exercise, increases inflammation or joint damage, although care should be taken with patients with severe baseline damage.

Regarding daily physical activity (exercise is only one component of physical activity) there is hardly any research done showing either that physical activity is indeed decreased in patients or whether or not there is a relation between daily physical activity and disease activity.

The results from studies looking at the effect of exercise on muscle mass or the ability to prevent or reverse cachexia are somewhat contradictory, but it seems that when the training dose is sufficiently large, gains in muscle mass can be achieved." Sport and Rheumatoid Arthritis
"Sport is becoming increasingly more important in our society.

Due to the changing age spectrum with a greater number of elderly and substantially more active people, an increasing number of people with underlying orthopedic diseases are becoming interested in participating in sport.

This article deals with the possibilities and effects of sporting activities for people with rheumatoid arthritis within the framework of a conservative therapy. A literature search was carried out using medical search engines, in particular PubMed, and also via the recommendations of specialist societies and patient help groups.The quality of life of patients with rheumatoid arthritis consists of physical, mental and social components.

Sport as a means of rehabilitation influences all of these components. Sport should be comprehended as a form of therapy and be adapted to the needs of the individual patient. The willingness to actively participate in sport should always be highly rated and encouraged.

Sport is therefore an important pillar of therapy in a conservative total concept. The main aspects of sport therapeutic activities are functional, pedagogical and experience-oriented aspects. The clinical symptoms, extent of damage and physical impairment must, however, be evaluated and taken into consideration for the therapeutic concept.

The amount of data on the complex topic of sport and rheumatoid arthritis is low and is mainly dealt with as retrospective reviews. A prospective randomized study basis is lacking. The aim must therefore be to confirm the currently available recommendations for various types of sport in controlled studies." Sources: The role of physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis, by Physiology and Behavior, and Sport and Rheumatoid Arthritis ALSO READ: Doping, prevention and controls: is it working better?