Although they oftentimes get overlooked, your joints play a crucial role in helping you move around without pain. They are also somewhat unique in that unlike a broken bone that will fully heal after a fracture, once your healthy joint cartilage degenerates, there’s no way to regrow cartilage, which can lead to painful movement. Because of this, it’s imperative that we work to prevent joint problems instead of trying to treat them once they’ve developed.
But how can you protect your joints on a daily basis? We share some simple adjustments you can make to your everyday life that will help keep your joints healthy for years to come.
Daily Changes To Keep Your Joints Healthy
Here are some things you should strive to do on a regular basis if you want to protect your joints.
1. Stay Active – You might think that activity could overstress the joints, and while that is true if you’re not careful, movement is one of the best things you can do for your joints because it helps to keep them and their supportive structures strong. If you aren’t active, those muscles and supportive soft tissues will atrophy, which means the cartilage has to handle more stress and in turn can wear down quicker. Regular exercise and activity is great for your joints.
2. Healthy Diet – Not only can a poor diet lead to weight gain, which will put more stress on your joints, but a poor diet can also contribute to joint inflammation. Fast foods and those with high fat content can lead to joint inflammation and pain. Swapping those food options out for omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and Vitamin D can all help to keep your joints healthy.
3. Avoid Initial Injuries And Rehab If They Develop – Not all injuries can be avoided, but athletic training regimens and controlled movements during activity can help reduce your risk of injury. If you suffer a cartilage tear, make sure you take enough time away from activity to allow the injury to heal, because if you never let the area fully recover, it may never return to full strength. If you’re then forced to compensate for this joint weakness, your other joints may wear down quicker as they are now forced to handle more stress.
4. Smart Exercise – Don’t get us wrong, running is great for your health, but it also tends to channel a lot of stress through your knees, ankles and feet with every stride. Running is great, but try not to make it your only workout. Switch in some less impactful exercises, like swimming or cycle. These will get the blood pumping and help you burn calories while taking some of the stress off your joints.
5. Don’t Give In – Fighting back against joint problems and arthritis isn’t going to be easy, but don’t give in or give up. If you stop exercising or dive into poor eating habits, joint degeneration is only going to get worse, and it’s even tougher to treat joints with major degeneration. Know that you’re going to have good days and bad days, but fight through the bad days and don’t be afraid to reach out to a specialist like Dr. Silverman for individualized assistance.