How to Prevent Degeneration of Your Knee Joint?
As you reach the age of 65, it is common to suffer from certain issues. There is no doubt that most of us will be running around taking X-rays and X-rays just to find out if we are suffering from osteoarthritis. Now this so-called osteoarthritis is not a deadly disease, but you might want to avoid having it. This disease affects the cartilage that covers both the ends of the bones present in the joint, leading to break down and even bony overgrowth.
Now for most people i.e. oldies, it might result in stiffness and sometimes pain in the joint. The following are some of the major risk factors you might want to consider for this degeneration of the knee joint –
Now the basic chances of suffering from osteoarthritis increases with age, since the chances of the cartilage breaking down is more. In addition, women going through menopause can have a higher risk of getting osteoarthritis as their body will slow down or start to stop the production of estrogen which is what bones grow with. Most importantly, the chances of getting osteoarthritis by inheritance is more.
You need to keep in mind that there is no possible cure for osteoarthritis. But that does not mean the end of the road for you. You can still manage the symptoms and even lower the risk factors. Now in certain situations, if you really end up in getting osteoarthritis, then you need to know that there are a lot of lifestyle changes you can make to slow down the course of the disease.
Can Certain Lifestyle Changes Prevent or Lower Chances Of Osteoarthritis?
Yes, a number of lifestyle changes can affect the risk of having OA. By making slight changes in your lifestyle can assist you in improving the joint health and even avoid osteoarthritis. As stated above, that osteoarthritis (OA) is quite common as we age, still it is not that much inevitable as part of aging.
Various researches and studies indeed prove and easily understand the causes of osteoarthritis. Still they are even able to provide good advice that can prevent the disease or even lower the impact it has on one’s life.
Steps to Prevent Osteoarthritis
The below are the four major steps to avoid osteoarthritis or its progression –
1) Controlling Weight
You might be at a healthy weight. Now maintaining the ideal weight should be the most necessary thing for you, especially if you are planning on avoiding osteoarthritis. Chances are you might be overweight, then in that case losing the extra pounds can be the best and effective approach against such disease.
Various reports suggest that obesity is the major risk factor that leads to osteoarthritis. Studies conducted to assess the nutrition and health of US people clearly show that obese women are more likely (nearly four times) likely going to have osteoarthritis compared to non-obese women. Regarding obese men it is almost five times greater compared to non-obese men.
If you are overweight, it means that you are putting strain on your joints. This is particularly on those that are bearing the weight of your body like the hips, knees, and joints of the feet, thereby leading the cartilage to wear off. Now extensively weight loss even about 5% will reduce the stress on the hips, knees, and lower back. Hence if you are really suffering from osteoarthritis, then losing weight might simply assist in improving the symptoms.
Now if the muscles that are running along the front of the thighs are weak, then research shows that you will have an increased risk of suffering from painful knee osteoarthritis. The best part is that in case of minor increase of the strength in these muscles, especially the quadriceps can lower the chances of risk.
Various doctors and bone experts feel that one can overcome the loss of strength of the quadriceps. All they need to do is continue with isometric moves and wall slides. For doing this, just stand facing your back to the wall, making sure that the feet are shoulder-width apart. After that, you must lean back against the wall, placing your feet just in front of you, making yourself as much comfortable as you can.
Then you need to bend right at your knees, keeping your hands right on the waist, and slowly slide your spine, to get in contact with the wall. This you need to do until you reach the sitting position (Here the knees must not bend more than 90 degrees). After that you need to slowly slide back to the original position. Continue to repeat this action for about 8 to 10 times.
Sometimes, there is a high chance that you might have the fear of joint pain after exercising. this might really pull you down from exercising. In such case, you can try the heat and cold on the painful joints or go for consuming some pain relievers. Doing such methods, it will make it easier for you to exercise and become active. In such case, the safest exercise is those that will really use less body weight especially on the joints like swimming, bicycling, and other kinds of water exercises. In addition, you can try other options like weightlifting, however, if you are really suffering from osteoarthritis, then it is important to discuss with your doctor or physician.
3) Avoiding Any Kind of Injuries and Getting Them Treated
Going through a joint injury when you are young can simply predispose the chances of getting osteoarthritis in the same joint as you get older. Also, by injuring your joint as an adult will even put a greater risk on your joint.
A long-term study was done on some 1000 graduates and it was clearly proven that people who got their knees injured in their adolescence or young adulthood were simply three times more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis of their knees. This was in comparison to those who haven’t suffered from any kind of injury.
Most importantly, this study even proved that individuals who got their knee injured as an adult suffered five times greater risk of osteoarthritis in their joint. For avoiding joint injuries while exercising or playing any kind of sports, there are certain precautions that you can follow. Some of them are –
- Keep the feet as flat as possible. This is most common while stretching to avoid twisting of the knees.
- Avoid the bending of the knees, that too past 90 degrees while doing half knee bends.
- While you are jumping, make sure to land on your knees and bent.
- Make sure to cool down after doing vigorous sports
- Do good amount of warm up exercises before any sports. This is even for less vigorous sports like golf.
- Try to wear properly fitting shoes which can provide good shock absorption as well as stability.
- Get to exercise on the softest surface as much as possible. You can even avoid running on concrete as well as asphalt.
Keep in mind that if you are suffering from any kind of joint injury, it is necessary to get good medical treatment and even take preventive steps to avoid any kind of further damage. Most of the damages like modifying highly impact movements or even using the brace for stabilizing the joint.
4) Eating Right
Currently, there are no specific diet that can help in preventing osteoarthritis. But there are certain nutrients that have been simply associated in risking the disease or the severity that is associated with it. Some of them are –
- Omega – 3 Fatty Acid: These can be considered as healthy fats which lowers joint inflammation. Unhealthy fats are the ones that can increase them. Some of the best sources of omega – 3 fatty acids consist of fish oil and certain nuts or plant oils like canola, walnut, flaxseed or linseed, soybean, olive, etc.
- Vitamin D: Some of the major studies show that vitamin D supplements can lower the chances of getting knee pain for people suffering from osteoarthritis. Keep in mind that your body will make the best of vitamin D it requires about sunlight. You can get more vitamin D in your diet by consuming fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and herring. You can even get vitamin D fortified milk and cereal as well as eggs.
Dietary Way of Countering Osteoarthritis
Now as surprising as it may sound, it is not possible for specific nutritional supplements or specific foods to cure osteoarthritis. However, as per multiple studies, there are certain diets which can improve the symptoms. Keep in mind that certain foods have anti-inflammatory capabilities. These can assist lowering the symptoms as well as there are other foods that can amplify them.
With the right diet, you can improve the condition of osteoarthritis in the below given ways –
1) Lowering Inflammation as Well as Preventing Damage
With a nutritious and balanced diet, the body gets the required tools to avoid further damages to the joints. Now this is necessary for people suffering from osteoarthritis. There are certain foods that can lower the chances of getting inflammation in our body as well as there is certain anti-inflammatory diet that can improve the symptoms. At times, you need to consume antioxidants like vitamin A, E, C and these might help in preventing further damage to the joints.
2) Lowering Cholesterol Level
Sometimes people having osteoarthritis are more likely to suffer from high blood cholesterol. Reducing the level of cholesterol will help in improving the symptoms of this disease. With the correct diet, individuals can immediately improve the cholesterol level.
3) Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Being overweight will put extra pressure on the joints. Excess fat gets stored in the body and this will lead to further inflammation. By maintaining a healthy weight one can reduce the symptoms involved in getting osteoarthritis. At times, keeping a healthy weight can be tough for certain people. This is most common with those who have a medical condition which can lower mobility like osteoarthritis. With the assistance of a dietitian or doctor, you can get some good advice.
Food Items You Can Eat for Lowering osteoarthritis
The below given are some of the specific food items you can add to your diet to strengthen muscles, bones and joints. These will easily assist you in fighting inflammation and curing diseases. People suffering from osteoarthritis can try these eight food items –
- Oily Fish – These contain an abundance of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish consists of mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna, salmon, etc. There are other sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Oils – Besides the oily fish, there are other oil sources you can use to lower inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil will have high amount of oleocanthal. This has the similar properties of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Diary – Here you can consume dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese, etc which have high abundance of vitamin D and calcium. Not only these nutrients increase the strength of the bone, they will even improve the painful symptoms too.
- Dark Leafy Greens – Like other vegetables, dark leafy green is extensively rich in Vitamin D. This also helps in fighting stress chemicals and antioxidants. Also, Vitamin D can boost the immune system and good for calcium absorption.
- Broccoli – Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers believe could slow the progression of osteoarthritis. This vegetable is also rich in vitamins K and C, as well as bone-strengthening calcium.
Eradicating Osteoarthritis Pain
If you already have osteoarthritis, these above-mentioned steps can be useful for reducing pain and other symptoms. Also, no doubt there are many treatments your doctor can recommend or prescribe. They range from over-the-counter pain relievers to injections of corticosteroids or other compounds and, eventually, surgery to replace the painful, damaged joint. So, go ahead and try these steps and make sure to comply with your doctor’s medical treatment too.