It’s easy to take your joints for granted until you experience severe symptoms. Unfortunately, ignoring symptoms for too long can be detrimental to the long-term health of your joints, which can eventually lead to the need for surgery.
Orthopedic doctors don’t want you to go through the suffering of joint problems. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM), we want you to have sturdy joints throughout your life.
Here are five tips for healthy joints that orthopedic doctors recommend.
1. Be Physically Active
Obesity is a major risk factor for joint problems, even when you are young. Your joints have a limit when it comes to the load they can bear. Going above that limit will damage them. Most people don’t know that the load your knees experience is actually heavier than your body weight — up to five times as much depending on the activity! Being physically active and regularly exercising can help keep your weight in check and strengthen your knees to take on more load. However, don’t overdo it! Overexertion can damage your joints, too.
An orthopedic doctor or physical therapist can design an individualized plan for you. They will make sure you are doing the proper activities that won’t stress out your joints. Some of the recommended physical activities include:
Remember to warm up beforehand to prevent injuries. Warming up signals your body to prepare for exercise. Cooling down is also necessary — it helps reduce soreness and hastens recovery after a physical workout.
2. Practice Proper Posture
Besides regular exercise, maintaining proper posture can significantly reduce the stress you put on your joints. Practice the correct way to stand, sit, run, and even walk to lessen your risk of injuries and musculoskeletal pain. Remember that your joints can only accommodate a certain amount of weight. So, putting extra load on your joints because of improper movements can damage them.
If you struggle with maintaining proper posture, a physical therapist can guide you. They can teach you techniques to help you remember how to do your daily activities without hurting yourself.
3. Eat Healthy Meals
Along with physical activity, a healthy diet can help you manage your weight. To keep your weight at the lower end of the scale, eat foods that help strengthen your bones and muscles without being full of empty calories, sugars, and saturated fats. Our orthopedic doctor shares the following essentials for a balanced meal:
- Fruits, vegetables, and grains
- Low-fat dairy products
- Proteins-rich foods like lean meat and eggs
- Food with less sugar and saturated fats
- Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
4. Choose A Healthy Lifestyle
Eating healthy food and exercising isn’t enough. You also have to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips:
- Get enough sleep
During sleep, your body recovers and prepares itself for another day. Not getting enough sleep takes a toll on your most used body parts, including your joints.
- Don’t smoke
Smoking affects the way your body heals injuries. It also increases inflammation in your body, including your joints.
- Avoid alcohol
If you can’t completely abstain from drinking, don’t drink in excess.
- Stay hydrated
Cartilage is made up of 80% water. Make sure to drink enough water, so your cartilage remains healthy.
5. Listen to Your Body
Your body does an excellent job of telling you what it needs. If you’re hungry, you should eat. If you’re thirsty, drink water. Similarly, if you feel pain or aches in your joints, seek medical help. Feeling pain during physical activity may point to improper posture, an unsuitable routine, or an overuse injury.
Pain can also be a symptom of more severe problems like arthritis. Listening to your body will help you know when to rest. However, when in doubt, it’s best to consult with an orthopedic doctor, like the ones at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland in Catonsville or Columbia.
Orthopedic Doctor in Catonsville or Columbia, MD
Joints play an essential role in your stability and mobility, so it’s important to learn how to keep them healthy. An orthopedic doctor can help make sure your joints are strong and pain-free.
At the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM), we offer personalized care and treatment for your musculoskeletal needs. Besides Catonsville and Columbia, we also have clinics in Eldersburg and Fulton.
Let us help you keep your joints healthy and strong!