Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.
Hip and knee replacements used to be for “old folks,” but new data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reveals a troubling surge in joint replacement surgeries for the under-65 set.
Here are four easy changes to make now so your joints will last a lifetime.
Try: Food-based antioxidants
Why they Work: Antioxidants combat the oxidative stress associated with inflammation and joint diseases like arthritis.
Try: Omega-3 fatty acids
Why they work: These polyunsaturated fats are naturally anti-inflammatory.
Make the change: Sprinkle omega 3–rich ground flaxseeds onto your morning cereal, or add a handful of walnuts to yogurt or salads.
Try: Strengthening your quadriceps
Why it works: Strong quads support your knees, reduce pain, and prevent cartilage loss.
Make the change: Sign up for spin classes, and add squats to your warm-ups every time you work out.
Try: Weight loss
Why it works: Each pound of extra weight results in a fourfold increase in the load exerted on the knee per step.
Make the change: Incorporate low-impact aerobic activity three times a week: Walk, bike, or swim for 30 minutes.
No matter what treatment your doctor recommends, get medical help right away if the pain gets intense, your joint suddenly becomes inflamed or deformed, or you can no longer use the joint at all.
By Cara McDonald