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Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that can affect anyone.
Whilst there is no definitive root cause as to why some people get OA and some don’t, there are a number of contributing factors, which when combined can increase the likelihood of you experiencing the condition at some stage in your life.
A number of items identified as preventative measures are also considered treatment options in order to slow down the degradation of the knee joint and ultimately delay the need for surgery in the long term and these are:
- Watching your weight
- Eating the right foods
- Keeping active
- Wearing the right shoes
Watching your weight
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important full stop.
When considering the knee joint, the heavier you are the greater the stress imposed on the joint, which in time can have a negative effect. If you like running then these stresses are amplified. If you lose a few pounds then that is a few less pounds of stress on the knee joints.
Watching your weight can not only help your knee joints but your overall wellbeing, giving you more energy and helping you to feel fitter, healthier and ready for action.
To find out if you’re a healthy weight check out the NHS BMI Healthy Weight Calculator.
Eating the right foods
This goes hand in hand with maintaining a healthy weight.
If you have a poor diet then it’s harder to maintain your weight, regardless of exercise, not to mention the impact on your body from eating things which don’t carry the necessary nutrients and vitamins.
Long term there is also a risk of experiencing diabetes, with the latest research suggesting it is a contributing factor of osteoarthritis.
When looking at the right foods you should focus on vitamin C and D, which are known to improve cartilage development, along with omega-3 and spices which can work to decrease inflammation.
For more information on selecting the right foods visit our nutrition page.
It may sound counterintuitive when suffering from knee pain to be told to exercise but this releases endorphins into the body which act as natural painkillers.
When considering exercise as a preventative measure you can consider low impact sports whilst also working on strengthening exercises.
Running is a high impact activity, whereas swimming or cycling can still offer a great workout without putting as much strain on the knee joints.
The knee joint is extremely important but by strengthening the leg muscles you can reduce the strain on the joint itself. Working on your hamstrings and quads mean that these muscles will take some of the strain when you’re active to help reduce the stress on the knee. Yoga is also a great way of improving your flexibility.
There are a variety of exercises available from flexibility and stretching to aerobic to muscle strengthening available on our knee exercises page.
Wearing the right shoes
Shoes can be a modifying factor when it comes to minimising pain and maximising your ability to get out and about and do things.
Wearing the wrong shoes can exacerbate problems that already exist and can cause complications and long term damage to a variety of joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments beyond the feet. Wearing the right shoes can eliminate or reduce foot pain, which also affects the body’s mobility and function.
For more information visit our footwear page.
The things mentioned above are not just things to consider to potentially avoid (or delay the onset of) osteoarthritis but things we should be doing anyway in order to look after our bodies.
For more information on getting started with a healthy lifestyle visit the NHS get fit for free pages.
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