Don’t Just Stand There
By Dr. Jerod Hines, Orthopedic Surgeon, Valor Health
Climbing stairs, doing yardwork, or simply bending over to tie your shoes… It’s easy to take activities like these for granted – when you’re not in pain. But for millions of people, arthritis, bursitis, gout, and strains, sprains and other injuries lead to serious joint problems.
While you can’t always prevent disease or trauma, you can take steps to strengthen and protect your joints. Here are five tips to help you get started:
- Maintain an ideal weight. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort. Did you know:
- People with obesity are 20 times more likely to need a knee replacement than those who are not overweight.
- If you’re overweight (i.e., a body mass index greater than 25), you may greatly benefit from losing even 5% of your body weight and maintaining a lower weight.
- Don’t just stand—or sit—there. Try to alternate between sitting and standing, and do simple stretches throughout the day to help prevent joint strain and stiffness.
- Be wise—exercise (safely): As we age, we lose muscle and bone mass, which can lead to joint problems like osteoarthritis. That’s why regular exercise is so important. Just be sure to talk with your doctor about what type and level of exercise is right for you. For example:
- Repetitive motion promotes the body’s natural process of lubricating joint surfaces, which can help reduce stiffness.
- Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss and maintenance.
- Strengthening exercises can build stronger muscles to take weight and stress away from joints.
- No butts about it: It’s time to stop smoking. Most people don’t realize that smoking has a serious negative effect on bones and joints:
- Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to suffer overuse injuries, such as bursitis or tendonitis, than nonsmokers.
- Smoking is associated with a higher risk of low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
The good news: Quitting smoking can help your body regain some of its normal healthy functioning.
- Don’t try to “power through the pain.” Ignoring common warning signs of arthritis or an injury may cause further damage to joints. Rest aching joints—but if the pain or stiffness doesn’t improve, call your healthcare provider. The sooner you know what is causing the pain, the sooner you can begin treatment.
If you have questions about joint pain, Valor Health Orthopedics can help.
To schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Hines, call 208-365-3563.