What’s your level of risk for osteoarthritis? This condition, which tends to strike as you get older, can result in chronic joint pain, stiffness, and loss of easy motion. Osteoarthritis is actually the most common form of arthritis out there, so your risks might be higher than you realize.
At Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana, Dr. Jeffrey Pearson and his team of orthopedic experts offer a full range of treatments and therapies to address osteoarthritis. But, what about osteoarthritis prevention? With the right changes, you may be able to lower your risk of developing osteoarthritis, or even avoid dealing with this condition completely.
Here are some of the osteoarthritis prevention strategies that Dr. Pearson recommends when he talks to his patients from around the Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana area about this part of their care.
Understanding your osteoarthritis risks
When you know more about your risk factors for osteoarthritis, you’re better able to make the right long-term choices for your health and health care. So, let’s start by taking a look at major risk factors for osteoarthritis.
The pain and joint dysfunction felt from osteoarthritis relate to degenerative changes to the ends of your bones. This is also the part of each bone that connects to other bones in your skeleton via joints. Osteoarthritis most frequently affects joints in your hands, hips, or knees.
The ends of your bones are protected by articular cartilage, helping them slide easily when they meet and rub together. If this cartilage wears away, or suffers too much damage, your raw bones rubbing against one another produces pain and friction, leading to issues with function. And, resulting inflammation plays an additional role in the development of osteoarthritis.
Your risk of developing osteoarthritis goes up if you’ve suffered from a past joint injury, or if your bones and joints are regularly put under repetitive stress. Being overweight or obese also puts you at higher risk. And, you may also be affected by risk factors you can’t control. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men, and osteoarthritis often runs in families via genetics.
Osteoarthritis prevention and lifestyle change
Some of the best adjustments you can make to avoid osteoarthritis in the future have to do with your daily lifestyle now. That’s where you should focus your osteoarthritis prevention efforts.
Carrying excess body weight puts a lot of pressure on your joints. So, if you can achieve healthy weight loss, you reduce the wear-and-tear on your joints and cartilage. Losing 5-10% of your body weight offers significant health benefits, including lowered risk of osteoarthritis.
It’s also important to keep your joints, and your body as whole, moving in healthy ways. That means watching out for repetitive stress, but making sure to stay active, as well. Ideally, you should get at least 30 minutes of exercise just about every day. Types of low-impact exercise that don’t over-stress your joints include walking, swimming, and yoga.
Listen to your body when you’re active. If you’re in too much pain after exercising, talk to Dr. Pearson about ways to support your body better. You may benefit from changing up your exercise routine, adjusting your biomechanics or equipment, or taking more breaks. And, always warm up before getting active!
Osteoarthritis prevention and management support
When it comes to osteoarthritis, don’t try to manage the problem on your own. Reach out to Dr. Pearson and the team at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana for an expert assessment of your osteoarthritis risks, and what you should be doing now for your joint health in the long term.
Osteoarthritis can’t be cured. But, if you do develop this condition, Dr. Pearson may be able to support you in slowing its progression, reducing the impact of osteoarthritis on your body and daily life activities.
For support with osteoarthritis management and prevention, contact Dr. Pearson and the specialists at Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment online or over the phone now.