DMC has many resources for patients preparing for orthopaedic surgery. In addition to the preventative care tips listed below, DMC offers information on:
Tips to Protect Your Joints
Stay Active and Keep Moving to Prevent Joint Pain -- Keep joints healthy by keeping them moving! The more you move the less stiffness you will experience. Change positions often when working, watching television or reading. Take regular breaks from your desk or chair to stretch or move around.
Protect Your Body and Your Joints -- Any injury can damage your joints. Therefore, it is important to protect your joints as much as possible. If you are participating in skiing or sledding activities be sure to wear protective padding.
Healthy Weight for Healthy Joints -- It is important to keep up with a regular exercise routine. Extra pounds add to the pressure placed on your joints which increases the risk of cartilage breakdown. Just a little weight loss can benefit your joints. Every pound you lose takes four pounds of pressure off of your knees!
Low Impact Exercise for Joints -- What is the best exercise to promote healthy joints? The best choices are low impact exercises such as walking and swimming. Light weight-lifting exercises would also be beneficial. Starting any new exercise program should be approved by your physician first.
Strengthen Muscles Around Joints -- Stronger muscles result in less stress on your major joints. For example, past research has shown that having weaker thigh muscles increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis. Consider trying exercises that focus on increasing muscle strength to reduce that risk. Remember to avoid rapid and repetitive motions that could result in joint inflammation.
Stretching is Key -- In order to keep joints flexible and reduce stiffness, move joints through their full range of motion on a daily basis. If you already suffer from arthritis, ask your physical therapist or doctor for recommendations of daily range of motion exercises that you can incorporate into your regular exercise routine.
Know Your Limit! -- After exercising, it is normal to feel a bit sore or stiff. However, if your pain lasts longer than 2-3 days you may have overstressed your joints. Continuing to work through the pain may lead to further joint injury or damage, so pace yourself with starting any new exercise. Remember, more is not always better!
Be Careful Lifting and Carrying -- Consider your joints when lifting and carrying heavy loads. Carry bags on your arms instead of with your hands to let your larger muscles and joints support the weight.