Tips for Protecting Your Joints
Whether you’ve just begun to notice a slight twinge in your wrists or knees whenever the weather changes, or you’ve already been diagnosed with arthritis or another degenerative condition, it’s important to take good care of your hard-working joints. This doesn’t mean that you should stop using your joints entirely; rather, you should try to become aware of how you use them during your daily activities, paying particular attention to what causes them to ache. Then, think about how you could modify your activities to help avoid pain.
While it is not possible to reverse joint degeneration or replace lost cartilage (a connective tissue that cushions the ends of the bones in a joint to help the bones glide smoothly over each other), there are steps you can take to prevent further joint wear and pain. For instance, here are some ways to help protect your joints so that you will be able to perform everyday tasks more easily:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight; excess pounds can increase the stress on your weight-bearing joints, including your hips, knees, and feet.
- Exercise regularly to help relieve joint stiffness and strengthen the muscles that support your joints.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D sources.
- Learn and practice good posture and proper body mechanics.
- Whenever possible, rely on your larger, stronger joints (e.g., shoulders), saving your smaller, weaker joints (e.g., fingers) for the specific tasks that only they can accomplish.
- Hold items with two hands instead of one.
- When carrying an object, try to spread its weight over several of your joints.
- Hold small items in your palms instead of your fingers.
- Carry your handbag on your shoulder instead of in your hand.
- Loosen your grip.
- Use assistive devices, such as jar grippers and canes, to help reduce the stress on painful joints and prevent further injuries.
- When resting your hands, keep them open and flat instead of balled into a fist.
- Never push yourself to work through pain; if something hurts, take a break.
- If you experience discomfort, stop and think about how you might perform the activity differently.
If you have questions about your bone and joint health or you are experiencing joint pain, please feel free to contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. No appointments are ever necessary to see a doctor at our walk-in clinic.