It may not always be possible to prevent arthritis, especially because it can stem from many underlying causes. Osteoarthritis results from wear-and-tear, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, and gout develops from crystallization in your joints.
With virtually every joint in your body vulnerable to arthritis, it’s necessary to be prepared if and when the worst happens.
At Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, our team of board-certified specialists knows exactly what it takes to keep arthritis from progressing quickly.
Here’s our expert guide to keeping arthritis in check.
Understanding how arthritis progresses
Arthritis presents itself differently in everyone, and it doesn’t progress at the same rate for everyone either. For example, osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) can take years or even decades to become severe, while others notice a faster decline in their joint health.
Arthritis is a progressive disease, but some factors can contribute to more aggressive arthritis, including your weight, health status, other underlying health conditions, and lifestyle.
You can slow (or, in some cases, halt) the progression of arthritis if you follow these guidelines for healthy joints.
Obesity is one of the most significant contributing factors to the progression of arthritis, and it isn’t hard to understand why. The more you weigh, the more stress you place on your already-damaged and diseased joints. The result is increased inflammation and more rapid deterioration of the joint.
It’s possible that losing even a small percentage of weight can dramatically relieve pressure on your joints.
You may not think it possible to work out when you have painful joints, but we can introduce you to a number of arthritis and joint-friendly exercises. The key is to keep the impact on your joints low by doing activities like yoga, swimming, and biking.
These types of exercise get your heart rate up, which helps you lose weight while promoting range of motion, strength, and endurance.
If you want to eat with your joints in mind, you must focus on specific ingredients. Right now, your body needs as much help as it can get fighting off inflammation, and you can aid the battle by feeding your body with inflammation-fighting foods.
Those with arthritis who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to have lower biomarkers of inflammation and a better quality of life. To follow a Mediterranean diet, you should be eating:
- Fish and seafood
- Olive oil
Foods to avoid include anything fried, sodas, and desserts. Talk to us before starting a new diet, and we can help ensure it’s right for you.
Change your routine
Before arthritis, you may have played through pain, but now that your joints are in jeopardy, you need to listen to your body. We recommend stopping any activity at the first sign of increased pain.
You may need to give up your weekend basketball games or hang up your running shoes for a while and swap them for lower-impact activities.
Try an injection
Over-the-counter pain medications can be effective inflammation relievers in the short term, but if you want maximum pain and inflammation reduction, you should opt for one of our injections. For arthritic joints, we offer viscosupplementation (injections of lubricating hyaluronic acid), steroid injections, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, or stem cell injections into the affected joints.
Many of our patients have experienced immediate relief and slower disease progression after getting an injection. We conduct a thorough review of your joint health before recommending an injection.
Pick up an assistive device
We get it: Walking around with a cane or walker makes you look and feel old and frail. However, the truth is that assistive devices help take extra pressure off your joints, which is crucial when you have arthritis.
If you’re uninterested in canes and walkers, we can discuss using braces and other less conspicuous devices to give your joints the support they need.
We are dedicated to helping you make the necessary adjustments and connecting you with the best treatments to keep your joints in the best shape possible.
If you’re worried about the progression of arthritis in your joints, don’t wait to talk with our experts. Call or click to get in touch with one of our team members today.