Joint pain and irritation can interfere with your daily life, so we have compiled our top tips from ORTHOKnox orthopedic clinics in Knoxville and Athens, TN, to improve your joint health below. These include exercise dos and don’ts, advice on what to eat and why, and the benefits of weight loss, quitting smoking, and seeking help when you need it. ORTHOKnox has orthopedic clinics in Knoxville, TN, and Athens, TN, to help you with your joint pain, but we hope these joint health tips can keep you active and pain-free!
Top Tips To Improve Your Joint Health:
- Keep moving! Low impact exercises such as swimming, golf, walking, and cycling can help you maintain a healthy weight and ease joint pain.
- Strength training is great for helping the muscles surrounding your joints to take on and handle the stress of movements or lifting. This keeps the strain off your joints.
- Focus on your core. A strong core helps you maintain balance, have proper posture, and avoid joint injuries from falls.
- Dynamic stretching after warming up can help prepare your muscles and joints for exercise.
- A physical therapist can teach you how to perform exercises that maximize how far a joint can move in different directions. Improve your flexibility, relieve stiffness and pain, and improve or maintain joint function by doing a range of motion exercises.
- Don’t avoid exercising because you are afraid of joint pain or damage. Exercising actually eases joint stiffness and reduces pain.
- Don’t skimp on your gear or padding, even at practice. Wearing proper-fitting shoes and padding can help you prevent injury on the field.
- Don’t push through the pain. While it is great to exercise and some soreness and muscle aches can be expected, sharp or prolonged pain should not be ignored. Avoid the activity that is causing you pain and see your doctor.
- Don’t overdo it! Rest often and include breaks and enough rest time between exercises.
- Foods that can increase inflammation. These include high-fructose corn syrup (soft drinks), processed meats, alcohol, fried foods (looking at you French fries), and white bread. Go easy on these foods to decrease inflammation (redness and warmth) in your joints, which can be irritating.
Yay, tell me what I should eat! The Mediterranean diet is highly recommended because it focuses on plant-based foods and avoiding the foods listed above in the “Don’t Eat” section. Specific foods to focus on to improve your joint health include:
- Fish has anti-inflammatory properties and omega-3 fatty acids!
- Lean proteins
- Other anti-inflammatory foods: tomatoes, olive oil, green vegetables, berries, and nuts
- Foods high in calcium: help to maintain bone density and decrease fracture risk
- Foods with vitamin D: help absorb calcium. (You can also get vitamin D from the sun but only stay out about 15 minutes without sunscreen).
Watch Your Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight by exercising and eating nutritiously and in proper portions can prevent adding extra stress on your joints. Every extra pound of weight puts about 4 pounds of pressure on your knees! Weight loss can reduce knee pain and stiffness.
Pain Relief and Getting Treatment
Use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) if you are experiencing joint pain. If your pain persists, contact your doctor. Don’t wait and risk increasing an injury. We hope these tips help to keep you healthy, but we are here for you with our orthopedic clinics in Knoxville, TN, and Athens, TN, if you experience joint pain or have questions!
Where can I get more tips or consult with an orthopedic surgeon about my joint health?
With its board-certified surgeon and Urgent Orthopaedic Care that is available without an appointment, ORTHOKnox has got you covered when it comes to joint health and injury prevention. For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat you, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!