Does Arthritis Grow on Your Farm?

by Ellen S. Gibson

Caitlin’s Story: A Maine AgrAbility Case Studyfarmer milking a goat

This is one of the ways Maine AgrAbility assists our clients. And we continue to be there when their needs change over time.

Do you have arthritis? It can be as pervasive as Quackgrass.

Did you know arthritis is the leading form of disability worldwide?  It affects one in five Americans and one in three farmers. There are many types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common among farmers.

Why farmers? Why Osteoarthritis?

Farmers are affected because of the work they do. Lifting, bending, gripping, stooping, climbing, hoisting, and hefting cause repetitive motion injury. The wear and tear on the joints erodes the cartilage that cushions the joints, resulting in pain, heat, stiffness, and swelling.

Osteoarthritis and aging go hand-in-hand because joint degeneration occurs over time. There is no cure, but there are ways to relieve painful symptoms and to prevent further damage. Maine AgrAbility works with farmers to say, ‘Here are some things you can do to help‘.

Caitlin Hunter has been making farmstead cheese with milk from the goats she raises for forty years. She contacted Maine AgrAbility in 2016. She had arthritis pain and was at risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries from the physical stresses of farming and cheesemaking. Read more about Caitlin here.