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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Stand up straight. Good
posture protects the joints in your neck, back, hips and knees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don't be static.
Changing positions regularly will decrease the stiffness in your muscles and joints.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.