Ways to protect your joints

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 8:34 AM EDT
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About one in three people between ages 18 and 64 have some type of arthritis. This common joint disease can wreak havoc on your everyday life. But there are some ways to protect yourself.

Running, jumping, and climbing stairs or mountains … your joints take a lot of abuse. Over time, it can lead to osteoarthritis, and it’s not just a disease for the old.

“We’re seeing arthritis at an earlier age, not only in the knees, but shoulders, really everywhere. It’s becoming an epidemic of sorts,” said Mathew Pombo, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

So, can you safeguard your joints? First: ditch the high heels. They put pressure on your knees and feet. A three-inch heel stresses your foot seven times more than a one-inch heel. And, you might want to scrap the sodas. A Harvard study found men with osteoarthritis who drank more sugary carbonated drinks reported worse symptoms. Get active but ramp it up slowly and be careful of injuries.

“We also have a lot of younger people participating in sports, and we know that prior injury leads to posttraumatic arthritis,” continued Dr. Pombo.

Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and biking are best. And extra weight is one of the biggest culprits for arthritis pain. Every additional pound you gain puts four-times the stress on your knees. Research shows losing as few as eleven pounds cuts your risk for osteoarthritis by 50 percent.

And there’s good news for coffee lovers! A new study out of Hong Kong found those who drink a lot of coffee had higher bone mass density than non-coffee drinkers.

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