Think of how often you use your knees, shoulders, and hips for work and other daily activities. If you’re like most people, you use them a lot. Unfortunately, our joints can take a beating over time. And because of this, they can begin to wear down, which can lead to pain and immobility.
The good news is there are things you can do to help keep your joints working well. In this blog, Douglas Bostick III, MD, of Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, explains some of the things you can do to help keep your joints healthy.
The basics of joints
Your joints are where two or more bones meet. They allow you to move and bend. Without your joints, you wouldn't be able to walk or do anything physical.
Three of the main joints in the body are the hinge joints, ball-and-socket joints, and pivot joints. Hinge joints only move one way. Your knees are hinge joints, because they only move up and down.
Ball-and-socket joints can move in nearly any direction. Your shoulders and hips are good examples of these. Pivot joints allow you to twist and rotate. You're able to move your head side to side because of pivot joints.
Your joints are the reason you can get out of bed, run a marathon, or go swimming in the ocean. Taking care of these structures is essential if you want to stay mobile.
Tips to keep your joints healthy
Doing the following can help you keep your joints as healthy as possible.
1. Watch your weight
Excess weight is one of the main contributors to chronic joint damage. Even losing 10 pounds if you’re overweight can help you keep your joints healthy. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help you shed excess weight.
2. Keep moving
Your joints are designed to move, so staying active can help keep your joints healthy. Movement can also help keep the muscles that support your joints strong.
3. Practice good posture
Having a bad posture can put excess pressure on your muscles and ligaments. Over time, this can lead to joint damage and pain.
4. Focus on low-impact activities
High-impact activities can place a lot of pressure on the tissues in your joints, which can lead to damage over time. So focus on low-impact activities, such as swimming, biking, and walking.
5. Strengthen your muscles
Muscles help support your joints and give them stability. So to support your muscles, consider weight training and resistance exercises. For help getting started, our team can give you recommendations on exercises that could help you.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking or using tobacco causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation can prevent joints from healing efficiently. So one of the best ways to make sure your joints stay healthy is to ditch tobacco.
7. Eat well
Your diet plays a prominent role in the health of many areas of your body, including your joints. You should make sure certain foods, such as fish and dairy, are on your menu. For example, salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help decrease inflammation in the body. And milk has plenty of calcium, which is crucial for bone health.
8. Work on your core
Having strong abdominal muscles, also called core muscles, can help you maintain a good posture, which is crucial to good joint health. And, having a strong core can also decrease your risk of falling and help you maintain a good balance.
Taking these tips to heart can help you keep your joints as healthy as possible. But do know that if you injure a joint or suffer any kind of joint damage, Dr. Bostick can help. He can give you a thorough evaluation and design a treatment plan to help you get well.
To learn more about supporting your joint health, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.