Do you remember the freedom of running, jumping, and playing when you were five or six years old? You probably never thought about your joints, but you sure used them! As the human body ages, joints become vulnerable to damage due to wear and tear.
At Apex Medical Center, our team of talented providers want you to be able to enjoy the freedom of painless movement for as long as possible. Joint pain can occur anywhere in your body, limit your mobility, and lower the quality of your life. Here, we offer some tips you can apply today to protect your joints.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your joints is to get regular exercise. You may be hesitant for a couple of reasons.
Your joints hurt, and we naturally want to avoid pain. So maybe you’re avoiding moving your aching joints. Second, if the damage is caused by wear and tear, it might seem like less wear and tear would be the solution.
The truth is that your body is a little like an engine. Yes, engine parts may wear out from being used. But, if the engine just sits unused, those parts are going to stop moving.
Exercise helps your joints stay lubricated, and studies have shown that it reduces joint pain and stiffness. Exercise can also help strengthen the muscles that support your joints, and that eases the pain, too.
Consider exercise that is low impact, like walking, swimming, or biking, that builds strength, and that increases flexibility and range of motion, like yoga or tai chi.
2. Tweak your diet
Adding some foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation and limiting foods that are known to increase inflammation may help your joints stay healthy. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is likely to improve your overall health as well as protect your joints.
Some simple tips include limiting refined sugar and increasing your consumption of fruits — so have an apple instead of a cookie for dessert — adding nuts and fish to your regular diet, and increasing the amount of vegetables you eat. Aim to eat a variety of vegetables, and to limit saturated fat.
3. Take a look at your wardrobe
Specifically, consider your shoes. High heels are problematic for many reasons, like the fact they put undue stress on the joints in your feet and they make it more likely you’ll fall and hurt yourself.
Generally speaking, you want to wear shoes that are flexible, supportive, and give your toes plenty of room. The joints of your feet are small, but they are important!
4. Talk to your doctor about supplements
Some people benefit from dietary supplements, but some companies make claims that simply aren’t true. Before you invest your money in a dietary supplement that claims to help your joints, talk to your doctor. They may want to do blood work before making a recommendation.
Get professional help
If you’re having joint pain, even if it’s mild or nagging, schedule an appointment with a doctor at Apex Medical Center and get guidance personalized for your situation. Depending on numerous factors, like your age, your lifestyle, and your medical history among many others, we can help you understand what’s causing your pain, as well as the most appropriate treatment plan for you.