6 Tips to Protect Your Joints

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team

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Your joints and the supporting structures allow you to wiggle your hips, bend your elbows and knees, move your head, and wave out to someone. For these functions to be performed smoothly, all the structures in your joint should function properly, and there should be proper lubrication, so the bones do not rub against each other. But advancing age, excess body weight, injury, etc., can wear and tear your joints, leading to arthritis.

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The only proven and effective way to care for your joints is by keeping your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments strong. The tips listed below will prevent further joint damage and help people already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis perform day-to-day activities with ease.

1) Watch Your Weight

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Maintaining a healthy weight is probably the best way to care for your joints. Your weight-bearing joints (knees, hips, and back) bear most of your body weight, which is why obese or overweight individuals often face problems in these joints. Shedding just 11 pounds will help reduce pressure on these joints and prevent joint injury, and cut down the risk of osteoarthritis by 50%.

2) Keep Moving

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Avoid sitting or standing in a single position all day. Always keep your joints moving. Release your grip every 15 minutes when writing, stretch your thumb and hand for 10 seconds every hour while typing, and take frequent breaks to stretch during long car trips to relieve your joints. Also, people already suffering from joint pain can perform low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, cycling, etc., to prevent their joints from getting stiff. Avoid exercises that give your joints a pounding.

3) Quit Smoking

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Did you know smoking makes your bones porous (osteoporosis) and increases the risk of fractures? Smoking also makes your tendons and ligaments more prone to swelling or inflammation. Smokers are also more susceptible to develop low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. If you want to improve your bone health and prevent this dangerous habit from destroying your joints, quit smoking today.

4) Consume an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

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Certain foods can result in long-standing inflammation in the body, damaging the joints and resulting in pain and swelling. Sugar, trans fat, vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates, and processed meat can cause inflammation and should be avoided. Instead, switch to an anti-inflammatory diet, consisting of tomatoes, leafy greens, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and fruits.

5) Strengthen Your Joints

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If your muscles are not strong, they will not support your joints. Weak muscles can put extra pressure on your weight-bearing joints, especially the spine, knees, and hips. Start weight training exercises to build muscles and keep the surrounding ligaments strong. Do not overwork your joints and avoid mistakes, which can result in more damage. Always get help from a certified personal trainer, who will teach you the best exercises for healthy joints and ways to do them correctly.

6) Improve Your Posture

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Always stand or sit with your spine up straight to protect your joints. Slouching affects your joints and weakens your back muscles. Good posture also protects your hip joints. Try to maintain your posture while lifting or carrying something. Meaning, carry your backpack over both your shoulders and not just slinging it over one shoulder. When you lift anything heavy, bend your knees and use the biggest muscles in your body and avoid bending your back.

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