Your joints play a pivotal role in allowing you to move freely. Taking care of them can prevent painful conditions like arthritis and other joint-related problems. While you cannot control normal wear and tear from aging, you can minimize damage to knees, hips, back and other joints. Keep joints healthy by avoiding these bad habits.
Wearing the wrong shoes
Your choice of footwear can have an impact on your joint health. Wearing shoes that don’t fit well or provide enough support can cause your feet and ankles to be misaligned. Ill-fitting shoes can have a negative impact on your knees, hips and back.
High heels, for instance, can place excessive pressure on the balls of your feet and front-load the kneecaps. Over time, this can alter your body’s natural posture.
To promote healthy joints, wear shoes that provide proper arch support, cushioning and a comfortable fit. Shoes designed for specific activities, like running or walking, can also help reduce the risk of joint strain.
You can see an orthopaedic specialist for recommendations on custom orthotics to address any current issues you have.
Lifting heavy items incorrectly
Lifting heavy objects improperly is a common cause of joint injuries. Whether moving furniture or lifting weights at the gym, using the correct technique is vital to protect your joints.
Start slowly and avoid bending at the waist to lift a heavy item. Instead, you should squat down, engage your core muscles and lift with your legs. This technique distributes the weight more evenly and reduces strain on your back, hips and knees.
If an object is too heavy, do not be afraid to ask for help lifting and moving it to reduce strain.
Ignoring good posture
Poor posture places undue stress on your spine, leading to joint discomfort over time. Whether sitting at a desk or standing, maintaining good posture is essential. Make sure your feet are flat on the ground, your back is straight and your shoulders are relaxed.
If you work at a computer for long periods, ensure your screen is at eye level to avoid straining your neck. Consider setting up a workstation that allows you to stand for periods throughout the day.
Practicing yoga or Pilates can also help improve your posture and strengthen the muscles that support your joints. If you experience back pain, try these exercises from our physical therapy assistant to strengthen your core.
Not exercising regularly
Exercise has many benefits, including improving joint health. Staying active can reduce joint stiffness. Low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling or walking can strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints and improve joint flexibility.
Strong muscles provide better support to your joints, which reduces your risk of injuries. Plus, staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around extra pounds can put additional pressure on your joints.
Before starting any exercise routine to keep joints healthy, consult your orthopaedic specialist if you have a specific condition or concern.
Too many high-impact activities
While exercise is important, high-impact activities can cause problems with your joints. Activities like running on hard surfaces or intense contact sports can put excessive strain on your joints. They can potentially lead to injuries and long-term joint problems.
You don’t have to eliminate these types of activities altogether. Moderation is key. Consider mixing high-impact activities with low-impact alternatives to reduce the overall stress on your joints. If applicable, wear the right protective gear to help minimize the risk of injuries.
Stretching your muscles before and after exercising is important for warming up and cooling down the muscles. It also helps improve flexibility and range of motion.
If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or hunched over a smartphone, take short breaks to stretch. Not only is it relaxing to stretch, but it can also be pain relieving.
Your diet plays a significant role in maintaining joint health. Excess weight puts additional stress on your joints, especially those in the lower body. Processed foods and unhealthy fats like those found in red meat can cause inflammation in the body and worsen joint pain.
To support healthy joints, eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can help reduce inflammation and reduce joint pain.
Ignoring joint pain
One of the important tips we can give is to not ignore joint pain. Pain is your body’s way of signaling that something is wrong. Ignoring it can lead to further damage.
If you are experiencing joint pain, swelling or stiffness, consult an orthopaedic specialist. Early intervention can prevent the progression of underlying conditions and help you manage your joint health effectively.
Visit an orthopaedic doctor to keep joints healthy
Small changes in your daily routine can significantly reduce the risk of joint damage and discomfort. If you want recommendations on how to keep joints healthy, contact our office for an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist or physical therapist.