8 Ways to keep joint problems at bay

Reader's Digest Editors 27 July 2022

Joint problems may seem inevitable but there are things you can do to avoid them. Follow this advice for keeping joint problems at bay

It is easy to take good joint health for granted—your body is very resilient and can put up with a great deal of wear, tear and abuse without complaint. Over time, however, the cumulative effects may start to take their toll. Even if your joints feel strong and healthy now, you may be storing up problems for the future.

However, there are things you can do now to help prevent problems later down the line. 

1. Take up tai chi

Tai chi on the beach

Apart from its musculoskeletal benefits, tai chi is also calming—the perfect exercise for stress reduction

The gentle, controlled movements of tai chi can lessen joint stiffness, improve flexibility and body posture and—by improving balance and coordination—will also reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

2. Wear the right shoes

Supportive, well-cushioned shoes will protect the joints of your ankles, hips and knees from impact. Unstable or high-heeled shoes can affect your posture and gait and throw your body out of alignment.

3. Set up office equipment correctly

A badly positioned computer or an awkward sitting posture while typing can put pressure on the joints in your spine and lead to neck or back ache. Take regular breaks and try to avoid repetitive movements.

Ergonomic office chair

Invest in ergonomic equipment, designed for efficiency and comfort

4. Lose some weight

Excess weight puts more stress on your knee and hip joints, the most common candidates for replacement. Being just 1kg (2.2lb) overweight can increase your chance of developing osteoarthritis by as much as 10-15 per cent.

5. Maintain your muscles

Strong muscles help to stop joints being pulled out of position and prevent injuries. But it is not just the size of your muscles that is important: flexible, balanced muscles keep joints supple as well as strong.

6. Eat more fish

The essential fatty acid omega-3, most commonly found in oily fish, helps to lubricate joints, decrease inflammation and may even build muscle.

7. Review your hobbies

Cycling

Cycling puts less pressure on your joints than running

It's always good to stay active but some sports and hobbies may lead to joint problems. Try to vary your activities or use protective equipment where appropriate. Cycling puts less pressure on your joints than running, for example, and knee pads can protect your knees while gardening.

8. Visit the podiatrist

A qualified podiatrist can check the joint alignment in your feet, knees and hips, as well as your posture.

Read more: How to fix joint pain

Read more: The dos and don'ts of back pain

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