One of the keys to living life free from movement limitations is to take care of your joints, and it’s no rocket science. All it takes is to know and employ the right self-care strategies.
At Midwest Orthopaedics, our highly credentialed orthopedic doctors, PAs and therapists are committed to not only delivering high-quality medical care, but also to providing comprehensive, useful information that will guide our patients along the path to optimal musculoskeletal health.
Below, we’ve gathered 10 tips from our orthopedic doctors to help safeguard your joints, so you can walk, run, jump, twist, and even dance freely no matter your age.
Tip #1 Go for anti-inflammatory foods.
Making healthy food choices is one of the best ways to show your joints some love. Reduce your risk of developing arthritis by avoiding foods that cause inflammation. These include ultra-processed foods, red meats, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates.
Instead, incorporate the following foods into your diet:
- Whole grains
- Colorful fruits
- Cruciferous vegetables (e.g., brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.)
- Garlic and root vegetables
- Sources of omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.)
Tip #2 Choose exercises you enjoy.
Exercise brings on a multitude of health benefits. For your joints, in particular, it boosts the circulation of the thick, lubricating fluid (synovial fluid), which gives your cartilage a healthy dose of essential nutrients and oxygen and consequently keeps your joints limber and strong.
Our orthopedic doctors recommend that you choose exercises that you find enjoyable. Fun is a great motivation and gets you through times when having to engage in physical activity does not seem as exciting.
Tip #3 Warm up.
Before you get to your main exercise routine, don’t forget to warm up. Warm-up exercises raise your body temperature, consequently prompting the release of synovial fluid and boosting blood flow to your muscles. This means less strain on your joints. Well-lubricated joints also enable you to execute sudden or explosive movements with ease while ensuring minimal risk for injury.
Tip #4 Stay at a healthy weight.
Did you know that for every 10 pounds you gain, you add 50 pounds of pressure on your knees and your other weight-bearing joints? This increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis by up to 36 percent. So, the next time you contemplate gorging on your favorite Big Mac meal, think about your joints.
Tip #5 Don’t smoke.
If you desire to maintain your joint health all the way through your golden years, quit smoking or don’t ever think of trying. Smoking is linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, which attacks the lining of your joints, causing painful swelling and eventual damage to them.
Tip #6 Improve your posture.
Albeit you cannot entirely blame your osteoarthritis back pain on poor posture, it is a potential contributor.
Proper posture helps keep your joints in the correct alignment and ensures the muscles that support them are being used properly. This, in turn, helps prevent the wear and tear of joint surfaces, thereby minimizing your risk of developing arthritis.
Tip #7 Observe proper body mechanics.
Just as you should mind your posture, make sure to observe proper body mechanics, which revolves around maintaining correct alignment and balance, and coordinated movement. This helps you work effectively without hyperextending your joints, which can put you at risk for dislocation and other types of injuries.
Tip #8 Respect pain.
Pain is essentially your body putting a message across that you’ve pushed it too hard. If you place too much stress on your joints, you will likely feel pain.
Learn to take frequent breaks in between your activities. If you feel pain, stop. If it persists even after an extended period of rest, consult your orthopedic doctor.
Tip #9 Stay adequately hydrated at all times.
Your cartilage, which is the flexible, connective tissue that cushions your joints, is made up of approximately 80 percent water. If you don’t keep yourself adequately hydrated, your body will pull water from your cartilage, and this can be harmful to your joints.
Instead of drinking soda and energy drinks, choose water. Increase your water intake during exercise and hot weather.
Tip #10 Partner with your orthopedic doctor.
Regular visits to your orthopedic doctor are especially imperative when you get to an age when you become susceptible to joint problems, such as osteoarthritis. Your orthopedic doctor can teach you additional self-care strategies to help you safeguard your joint health. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and other soft tissues that support your joints.
If you’re in search of a reliable orthopedic doctor in Merriam, Kansas, visit us here at Midwest Orthopaedics. Call us today at (913) 362-8317, or simply fill out our appointment request form, and one of our staff members will contact you promptly to schedule your visit.