From your head to your toes, you have 360 joints in your body. Each one performs a unique task that helps you move. Even now, the joints in your thumb and fingers help you scroll through this blog, and the joints in your neck make it possible for you to hold your head up and look at your screen.
Because your joints are constantly working, they’re constantly under attack.
That’s why our team at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group has compiled this comprehensive guide to healthier joints.
Manage your weight
Not only do your joints make movement possible, but many of them bear your body weight as they do it. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of extra weight your carry adds up to an additional four pounds of pressure on your joints.
Therefore, you can keep your joints healthy and avoid damage by managing your weight and reducing the stress and pressure they have to bear.
A sedentary lifestyle leads to stiff joints, and stiff joints are vulnerable to injury and damage. Your joints also need to experience motion and force to keep your cartilage healthy and your bones strong. Keep your joints limber and flexible by incorporating movement and exercise into your daily routine.
Do the right activities
Stay active, but don’t do just any activity. Low-impact exercises are best if you’re focusing on joint health. Some of these exercises include walking, swimming, biking, and yoga. You may also consider working in range-of-motion exercises that encourage movement in your joints.
Of course, always remember to warm up properly and wear supportive, protective shoes.
Focus on strength building
Strong muscles surrounding your joints give them adequate support and help to reduce the forces felt by your joints. Strength-training programs that focus on building your abdominal, back, chest, and leg muscles help you stabilize and protect your joints.
Additionally, if you’re stronger, you’re more balanced and less likely to fall and suffer a joint injury.
Mind your posture
As you read this, do a quick scan of your posture. Is your head hunched over a phone screen? Are your legs crumpled up underneath you? The way you sit and stand matters to your joint health. If your joints are forced to do their job out of alignment, the resulting stress can cause significant damage. Proper posture is also important when you lift or move heavy items.
Check in with your diet
They say you are what you eat, and when it comes to your joints, we agree. Lean proteins support strong muscle, calcium and vitamin D fortify your bones, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in your joints. Some of the best foods for joint health include:
- Dairy products
- Olive oil
- Leafy green vegetables
Many also believe that a Mediterranean diet is optimal for reducing joint inflammation.
How we can help
Sometimes, even your best effort to protect your joints isn’t enough. When the worst happens, and your joints are damaged, we offer comprehensive services including both nonsurgical and surgical treatments ranging from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy to joint replacement surgery.
We conduct a thorough review of your medical history and your symptoms before making a recommendation.
If you’d like more information about joint health, or if you suspect you have a joint problem, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our offices in Carmel, Newburgh, Kisco, and Fishkill in New York, or in Danbury, Connecticut.