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Osteoarthritis Prevention

Osteoarthritis results from deterioration or loss of the cartilage that acts as a protective cushion between bones, particularly in weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. While it is not totally preventable there are three things you can do to limit your chances and mostly limit the severity if you do develop it.

Osteoarthritis Prevention through Weight control

Since excess weight adds unnecessary strain on joint, maintaining a healthy and appropriate weight may be the single most important thing you can do to prevent osteoarthritis. Lose unhealthy weight to prevent or lessen joint damage and decrease the stress on weight bearing  joints. Being overweight puts extra strain on the joints, particularly the large weight-bearing joints such as the knees, the hips, and the balls of the feet. Extra weight may alter the normal structure of the joint and increase the risk for osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Prevention through Injury prevention.

One of the major causes of Osteoarthritis is injury or trauma to a joint or group of joints. Protecting your joints from serious injury or repeated minor injuries will decrease your risk of damaging cartilage. Repeated minor injuries include job-related injuries such as frequent or constant kneeling, squatting, or other postures that place stress on the knee joint. Wearing protective gear when playing sports and not playing through an injury may also help prevent osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Prevention through Exercise.

Exercise can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Light- to moderate-intensity physical activity may prevent a decline in, and may even restore, health and function. However, some people with osteoarthritis may be reluctant to exercise because of joint pain after activity. Various steps can be taken to help relieve pain, such as heat and cold therapy or taking pain relievers, which may make it easier for you to exercise and stay active. Choose partial or non-weight bearing exercise, such as bicycling, swimming, or water exercise

Osteoarthritis Prevention - Ten ways to protect you joints

  1. Maintain your ideal body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are putting on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.
  2. Move your body. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles keep your joints from rubbing against one another, wearing down cartilage. We can help you get started on an exercise program that works for you.
  3. Stand up straight. Good posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.
  4. Use the big joints. When lifting or carrying, use largest and strongest joints and muscles. This will help you avoid injury and strain on your smaller joints.
  5. Pace yourself. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can accelerate the wear and tear that causes OA.
  6. Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don't ignore it. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication that you have overstressed your joints.
  7. Don't be static. Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints.
  8. Forget the weekend warrior. Don't engage in activities your body for which your body isn't prepared. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them. This will reduce the chance of injury.
  9. Wear proper safety equipment. Don't leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure you get safety gear that is comfortable and fits appropriately.
  10. Ask for help. Don't try to do a job that is too big for you to handle. Get another pair of hands to help out.

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