Your joints enable you to do most of the things you love doing. You may not realize how integral they are to exercise, simple tasks (like getting out of bed), or work until you have joint pain and degeneration.
Protect your joints before they start to suffer pain or stiffness. And, if you already have a joint condition like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, proper joint care is critical to your quality of life. At Total Joint Specialists with 8 office locations in Midtown Atlanta, Alpharetta, Braselton, Canton, Cumming, Gainesville, Lawrenceville, and Woodstock, Georgia, our seasoned experts recommend the following strategies for preserving and protecting joint health.
1. Healthy eating
Eating a healthy diet centered around fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods supports healthy joints. Leafy greens, like spinach and kale, have a high calcium content, as do dairy products and many fortified foods.
Many fruits and vegetables are full of anti-inflammatory, joint-supporting antioxidants. Go for brightly colored produce like peppers, beets, cherries, and tomatoes. Whole grains are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and their high fiber content helps fill you up, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping the extra pounds off relieves pressure on your joints, especially weight-bearing ones like your knees and ankles. Research shows that losing as little as 10 pounds can reduce the progression of osteoarthritis in your knees by as much as 50%.
3. Keep moving
Being physically active contributes to a healthy size. It also helps improve range-of-motion and joint mobility. Focused exercise is important, whether you walk, swim, or do other low-impact activities. Pounding exercises, like running and jumping, can be tough on your weight-bearing joints, causing chronic ankle pain, hip pain, or knee pain.
You should add resistance exercises to your workout routine to help strengthen the muscles around your joints, so your bones and connective tissues aren’t overworked. It’s also helpful to your joints if you move them often, especially if your job requires you to sit for hours at a stretch.
4. Stop smoking
If you smoke, quit. Smoking and other tobacco use has a lot of negative health implications, including heart disease, respiratory illness, and cancer. Research shows that smoking can also lead to increased cartilage loss and joint pain. Smokers are more likely to have joint injuries, too, compared to nonsmokers.
5. Stay flexible
Incorporate regular flexibility training into your exercise routine. Yoga is an option, but so is making time to stretch first thing when you get up in the morning. When you stretch, you increase your range of motion, which helps preserve joint health.
6. Adapt to joint changes
If you already have joint pain or damage, the time to act is now. Adjust the height of your bed so it’s easier to get in and out, use labor-saving technology around the house, and rest when you feel tired or your joints feel achy.
7. See your doctor when you start to feel pain
Early intervention for joint conditions can help you avoid complications and invasive procedures. When you start to notice persistent joint pain, don’t just ignore it — reach out to us at Total Joint Specialists. We can help relieve pain, slow or prevent the progression of your condition, and keep you mobile and healthy.
Give us a call today, or use the online tool to book an appointment at your nearest Total Joint Specialists office in Midtown Atlanta, Alpharetta, Braselton, Canton, Cumming, Gainesville, Lawrenceville, or Woodstock, Georgia.