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How to have Healthy Joints

Joint injury can be very debilitating. Knees, hips and feet are the most commonly injured joints. These injuries can lead to eventual arthritis.  So, taking good care of the joints is imperative.

When pain gets in the way of your normal activities, it is time to seek out a health care professional. Physicians can relieve pain with medications and sometimes injections to the joints. If those are not needed, often the physician will recommend physical therapy.

A physical therapist will assess the range of motion and strength to the joint that is hurting as well as surrounding joints.  Knee pain is often the result of weak hips or mal alignment of the foot. Sometimes a structure called the iliotibial band is tight and it causes the knee cap to glide out of its usual position. This likely causes pain and sometimes “crepitus” or a noisy knee joint. Correcting alignment can alleviate significant pain in many individuals.

Strengthening the core muscles also decreases lower extremity pain. If your body has a strong base, then it takes stress off of the limbs. Proper foot alignment is also important. If your arch “crashes” or is very flat, this creates stress to the rest of the lower extremity.  Local specialty shoe stores or running stores can offer expertise on finding the right shoe. At times, an orthotic is needed as well.

When joint pain first occurs, the acronym R.I.C.E. applies. “R” represents rest. “I” represents ice. “C” represents cold. “E” stands for elevate. Sometimes over the counter medications are appropriate too. Once the pain subsides though, it is time to get moving again. Joints need the lubrication of movement. Too much rest will also lead to weight gain. Every pound of excess weight increases joint pressure up to five times the norm!  Again, sensible exercise is the best way to have healthy joints.

 


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