For some, major joint problems might be unavoidable due to inherent risks such as genetic heritage, childhood diseases, or previous injury to your joint. For others, the risk of major joint arthritis may be increased due to high impact activities and sports injuries.
No matter your risk level of developing joint problems, the following tips can help you keep your joints healthy and avoid unnecessary pain.
Maintain a healthy weight and diet
Keeping your weight within the healthy range reduces the pressure on your legs, hips and knees.
Every kilo of extra weight you are carrying puts additional strain on your joints. Eventually this strain can lead to wearing out the cartilage within your joint. If you are already susceptible, extra weight may hasten the process.
If you need to lose weight, speak to your GP first so they can check your overall wellbeing. They may also suggest you speak to a physiotherapist who can recommend some exercises to strengthen your hip joints.
Many people don’t realise that you can be overweight but malnourished. Fatty and high sugar content food such as fast food are high in calorie but low in nutrients.
Maintaining a balanced diet will supply your body with adequate nutrient requirement which goes towards keeping your bones and joints healthy. Talk to your GP or see a nutritionist if you need guidance with this.
Get active and regularly exercise
Regular exercise helps to keep your weight in check and can strengthen your muscles. It also maintains your range of motion and avoids stiffness in your joints.
Strengthening the muscles throughout your core helps keep your bones strong and in alignment.
Performing a range of exercises that work on different muscle groups is also important. This will avoid overworking one area of your body while forgetting about other important muscles.
Exercises such as bike riding, using the cross trainer, swimming and walking are all great activities to keep your joints healthy.
Don’t ignore joint pain
If you experience hip or knee pain on a regular basis or consistently after exercise then you should seek medical care.
Your GP can refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon who can assess your hips or knees and suggest options for your ongoing care.
Pain is a sign that something isn’t quite right and when you ignore it, more damage can occur.
Your surgeon will try and make the correct diagnosis for the cause of your pain. In the majority of cases, your pain can be managed conservatively through simple medication, a structured physiotherapy program, or intra articular injection (an injection into your joint).
Sometimes, surgery may be recommended to manage your pain. You may need a day surgery such as arthroscopy to address your symptoms.
In some cases of advanced disease, joint replacement surgery may be the only option but it is certainly the last resort when all conservative options fail.
You can find orthopaedic surgeons who work at St John of God Health Care hospitals through our find a doctor search.