Tips to Help Avoid Arthritis

by Liz Hoobchaak | 2 Comments

In honor of May being Arthritis Awareness Month, I visited the Arthritis Foundation’s website for some inspirational thoughts for this blog post. There is a wealth of information on their website including practical tips for individuals living with arthritis. After perusing through many different articles and pages of information, there seemed to be one underlying message to help avoid arthritis: Stay active! This seems simple enough, but we must make sure we stay active in a safe way to ensure our joints are well protected.

Staying active is a key component to help avoid arthritis.There are many different types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis (OA). There are over 27 million Americans living with joint pain associated with OA. OA is a breakdown of cartilage, the cushioning in the joint, which leads to bones rubbing against one another causing pain and stiffness. Although there is a genetic component, there are many things that we can do throughout life to decrease our risk of getting OA. Here are some great tips from the Arthritis Foundation’s website on ways to help protect our joints so that we may stay active in our later years.

  • Maintain ideal body weight: Carrying extra weight makes our joints work harder to do everyday activities. Every pound lost reduces the burden on your knees by 4 pounds.
  • Exercise: Exercising will help to strengthen your bones and muscles and improve flexibility. Walking is one of the best ways to get your body moving because it is low impact and requires very little equipment. The Arthritis Foundation’s ‘Walk with Ease’ program can help you begin a walking program and has been proven to reduce the pain of OA.
  • Have good posture: This ensures that our joints are in good alignment to minimize undue stress on them. Poor posture leads to weak or tight muscles, which cause more stress to our joints.
  • Listen to your body: If a certain activity causes pain in your joints, typically it means that the joint is being worked too hard. Minimize activities that may cause pain, do not try to push through it.
  • Don’t be a weekend warrior: If your body is not used to consistent activity and you tend to over-do it on the weekends, you are increasing your chance of joint pain and injury. Try to do little bits of activity throughout the week so that your body does not get as sore.

These are just a few tips that can be found on their website. There are many great resources out there for individuals living with different types of arthritis. To learn more, visit the Arthritis Foundation’s website at www.arthritis.org and learn to live pain free.

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2 Comments

  1. Grant Koster

    The Arthritis Foundation is a great resource for people with Arthritic related diseases. As a Board Member of the Arthritis Foundation and Physical Therapist, I get to witness this disease on both ends of the spectrum. The Arthritis Foundation is the largest support of biomedical research in the world around Arthritis (OA, RA, and JRA). Arthritis just doesn’t affect older people. Over 300,000 kids have JRA.

    If you have Arthritis, you have a choice. Don’t chose to change your life and accept disability. That only feeds the reason why Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Stand up (and move) to Arthritis. Seek appropriate medical care and get some quality education by a physican and physical therapist on what you can do to take control and live with a high quality life. Activity modification, posture, stretching, specific exercises, and nutrition are just a few of the things that can make significant positive impacts on your life if you are dealing with Arthritis.
    -Grant Koster, PT, ATC, CSCS

  2. Diane

    My only comment is that as you note, there are many forms of arthrits, and some, like rheumatoid arthritis, aren’t avoidable/preventable (would that it was!). Activity when possible with RA is a great thing.

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