Arthritis is inflammation of the joints, and although some forms are unavoidable, like rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis is one that can be prevented by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle.
An estimated 21 million Americans over the age of 25 have osteoarthritis and suffer from symptoms that include:
- joint pain and stiffness
- loss of flexibility
- a grating sensation of the bones
Here at Leading Edge Medical, we’ve put together our 5 best tips for preventing arthritis, so read on to discover how you can stave off this condition.
1. Watch your weight
Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage — the cushioning between your bones — wears down. Without cartilage, the bones grind against each other, which is just as painful as it sounds. Carrying too many extra pounds puts additional pressure on your joints, which wears down the cartilage more quickly and hastens osteoarthritis and its effects.
To lengthen the lifespan of your cartilage, keep an eye on your weight and make changes to your diet and exercise regime if it’s starting to get out of control. You can also come and see us at Leading Edge Medical to look at weight loss solutions that’ll suit you and your lifestyle.
2. Wear comfortable shoes
This tip isn’t just for the ladies, because tight, pointed men’s shoes can be just as damaging to your bones and muscles as skyscraper heels. That’s because they force your feet into an unnatural position, putting pressure on your joints and additional strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support them.
For daily wear, stick to comfortable shoes that give you good support, and save the designer collection for special occasions.
3. Eat well
Strong and healthy joints are reliant on getting the right nutrients from your diet. Introducing a few new foods is a great way of preventing arthritis from developing too early, and can even lessen the effects. Ginger is particularly good at blocking inflammatory-promoting substances found in your body, and improving pain caused by inflammation.
Other foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and other anti-arthritis nutrients include:
- cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and citrus fruits
- salmon and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach
- walnuts, pistachios, and almonds
- extra-virgin olive oil
4. Stay hydrated
Cartilage between joints is up to 80% water, so it’s important to keep this topped up by drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated. When we become dehydrated and fluid in cartilage is reduced, it can become less effective at cushioning and protecting the joint, leading to increased wear and tear.
Cartilage isn’t able to repair itself easily when it becomes damaged. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to ensure your body, including your cartilage, stays hydrated.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly is the best way to strengthen the muscles that support the joints. When muscles become weak, joints can move beyond their normal range of motion, causing damage to the cartilage and making you prone to injury.
Exercise not only helps with keeping excess pounds at bay, but also stabilises your skeletal system ensuring that your bones and joints are in the right place, supported properly and working at their best to keep you feeling fit and well. A mix of cardiovascular activity, such as swimming, along with stretching and pilates to work on your core muscles, is a great way to prevent the premature effects of arthritis.
If you want help taking care of your joints to help prevent arthritis, book an appointment online or call our office in Gilbert, Arizona, at 480-210-1069.