Do this First for Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis or “arthritis of the bone” is the most common joint disorder in the U.S., affecting about 32.5 million American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a painful form of arthritis caused by wear and tear on the cartilage that provides cushioning between bones, which leads to pain and limited mobility.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis most often develop gradually and include:
- Joint aching and soreness, especially with movement
- Pain after overuse or after long periods of inactivity
- Stiffness after periods of rest
- Joint swelling
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can’t be reversed, however treatments and lifestyle changes can help reduce the pain and inflammation and help you get back to what matters most. Dr. Nathan Turnbull, orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee joint replacement surgery, recommends three first steps for those suffering from osteoarthritis.
Make Exercise a Habit
The best thing you can do for your arthritic joints is to stay active. Move your body. Move your joints.
A good fitness plan should include cardio, strength training, flexibility, and balance exercises. Mixing it up will help you keep things interesting. Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, and swimming. These low-impact activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or put too much stress on the joints.
You don’t have to be a super athlete. Do what you enjoy and start slowly. Three 10-minute walks spread through the day is as good as one 30-minute walk. Push yourself a little more as you get stronger.
Physical therapy is another option that can help you get moving safely and effectively. For arthritis, goals of physical therapy typically include:
- Improving the mobility and restoring the use of affected joints
- Increasing strength to support the joints
- Maintaining fitness
- Preserving the ability to perform daily activities
Having additional weight on your body can put unnecessary strain on joints, particularly weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees, making your arthritis symptoms worse.
Your joints will be much happier if you take some pressure off them. Studies show that losing 5% of body weight can improve pain and mobility. And it’s not just from reducing strain on the joints. Fat cells produce proteins that fuel inflammation in your body and joints. Less fat means less inflammation and less pain.
Eat Inflammation Fighting Foods
Foods that increase inflammation can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and joint pain. Avoid or limit eating refined carbohydrates like white bread and pastries, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat, and processed foods.
Instead, focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods such as:
- Olive oil
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards,
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
- Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
When to Talk to an Orthopaedic Specialist
When treatment options do not provide enough relief to keep you moving comfortably or severe knee pain limits your everyday activities, consider talking with an orthopaedic specialist.
Florida Orthopaedic Associates is dedicated to keeping you active and pain free – getting you back to what matters most. If you are dealing severe hip and knee pain and it is not responding to home treatments, make an appointment today.