5 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Joints
More than 58 million people in the US have arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis (OA), is also known as degenerative joint disease. The condition most commonly affects the hands, hips, and knees. It is a common cause of hip and knee replacement surgery.
Signs of OA can include pain, stiffness, decreased flexibility, and swelling at the affected joint. Osteoarthritis typically occurs after a breakdown of the joint’s cartilage, which can occur for numerous reasons. Risk factors can include age, genetics, obesity, and overuse of the joint,
While there is no cure for arthritis, there is a lot you can do to treat and manage it. Here are some ways to keep your joints healthy:
- Exercise. Being active, especially by walking, biking, or swimming, is one of the best things you can do for your joints. Any amount of activity is better than none, and don’t be afraid to make modifications during times when your joints flare up.
- Strength train. Increasing your muscle strength, especially near the affected joint, can help protect the joint and decrease your pain. You can lift weights, use resistance bands, perform bodyweight exercises, or join an exercise class to meet this goal.
- Stretch. Flexibility exercises or yoga can help reduce joint stiffness and help you maintain your range of motion. A few minutes a day of stretching can ensure you can rotate your neck adequately while driving or reaching up towards a high shelf.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight means extra pressure on your joints, especially the weight-bearing joints in your legs, such as the hip and knee. Reaching or maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease pain and increase joint function.
- Listen to your body. It is common for arthritic joints to go through periods of being flared up. When this happens, you may need to stop or modify an activity if it becomes too painful to perform.
If joint pain is making it hard for you to start or continue your favorite activities, MOTION’s skilled therapists can help increase your tolerance to exercise so you can get back to doing what you love.