5 Tips to Manage Your Joint Health

A joint is an area where two or more bones come together in a hinge. You can move your body in the various ways you do because the bones in your joints work together with your muscles and other soft tissues. 

As you age or if you suffer a joint injury or engage in sports or activities that require repetitive movements, you may notice some changes. Achiness and stiffness start to creep into your joints when they’re in one position for too long. 

While you have a number of joints throughout your body, the joints most often affected by injury or disease include your:

No matter how old you are, it’s never too early (or late) to take steps to improve your joint health and even prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

Jocelyn R. Idema, DO, founder and orthopedic surgeon at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center, wants you to avoid arthritis and joint pain or stiffness whenever possible. Here are her tips on how to keep your joints healthy, strong, and mobile. 

Lose weight

For each extra, unnecessary pound you gain, you put four times that amount of stress on your joints, especially your knees. One of the main reasons joints begin to lose function and become painful is because they’re under too much pressure from too much body weight. 

Even losing a few pounds can make your joints much more comfortable. Just as a pound adds four pounds of pressure on a joint, losing one pound relieves four pounds of pressure.    

Strengthen your bones

Your joints are bones, after all, so keeping them strong helps them function well. Eating foods that are rich in calcium supports bone health, which in turn boosts your joint function. 

Dr. Idema may also recommend a calcium supplement to ensure your bone strength and prevent issues like osteoporosis.

Yet another essential vitamin for improving joint health is vitamin C. Vitamin C is so joint-protective that it can even slow down the progression of existing osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that wears down the protective cartilage of your joints.

Change your shoes

If you want to preserve your joint health, wear shoes that won’t cause complications later. Trade in high heels and flip-flops for flexible, supportive shoes that have enough room for your toes. 

Rubber-soled shoes also cushion your body more and protect the joints in your feet and ankles during physical activity.

Exercise and move

Sitting down and leading a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for your joints. In addition to walking and other forms of activity and aerobic exercise, add strengthening exercises to your weekly routine. Keeping your muscles strong keeps your joints strong, too.

Don’t forget to take frequent breaks if your job requires you to sit at a desk all day. These steps go a long way toward preventing stiffness and pain.

If you already have arthritis or other joint diseases that make it difficult or painful to exercise, try aquatic exercises in a pool. Working out in the water helps build joint strength in a way that doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints.

Ease up on caffeine

You don’t have to give up your morning joe if it’s just a cup or two. But if you’re emptying a pot around the clock, the high doses of caffeine can cause your bones to lose calcium and weaken.

Weak bones are more susceptible to arthritis and fractures that cause permanent damage to your joints.

If you are experiencing joint pain now, contact us today by phone or online request form. We have offices in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, and Washington, Pennsylvania.

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