How do I Keep Joints in Good Shape?
The movements that you perform on a daily basis are critical to long-term joint health, as are proper nutrition, a healthy exercise regimen and a healthy lifestyle. Proper lifting is also important.
Moving a joint through its full range of motion serves several important purposes. Joints are not supplied directly with blood as are other organs within the body, so the saying “Use it or lose it” applies to joint function.
Most joints in the body are lined with cartilage—a firm but pliable tissue that covers the surfaces of the bones that make up the joint. Cartilage within a joint is nourished by synovial fluid, which is “forced” into the joint cartilage through a process called imbibition.
The pressure within the joint providing nourishment to the cartilage occurs only when joint movement happens. This is why movement is critical to joint health. Grinding of bone on bone without a cartilage covering leads to degenerative joint disease, tearing up the bones and creating cysts, bone spurs and excess bone production.
Proper diet and nutrition also contribute to joint health by providing the joints with enough healthy nutrients for long-term stability and resistance to wear and tear. A healthy lifestyle – one that is free from tobacco products and other toxins – helps to ensure proper blood supply to tissues surrounding joints and speeds up the healing of joint injuries when they occur. How are joints injured?
Most of the injuries to joints occur because abnormal stresses are placed on a normal joint. A joint can be injured acutely from a single traumatic event, like an ankle sprain. The ankle joint is protected by ligaments on the inside and outside. When the ankle moves excessively inward, the ligaments on the outside of the joint are torn. The ankle swells, leading to bruising and pain. In some cases, small pieces of bone and cartilage may be torn away. Fracture of the tibia and/or fibula (ankle bones) can also occur.
Other joint injuries are called repetitive-stress injuries or cumulative-trauma disorders. These injuries occur when relatively small abnormal stresses are repeatedly placed on normal joints. The stresses placed on joints by poor posture, poor joint position during the performance of a task, and/or poor workstation ergonomics make these joints more likely to be injured.
If you experience joint pain, consult with the doctors of chiropractics at Cascade Spine & Injury Center. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to treat common musculoskeletal conditions, including low back pain, neck pain and joint pain. They can also help you choose proper rehabilitation exercises and prevention techniques to get you back on your feet and reduce the likelihood of future injuries.
“By the Numbers: Musculoskeletal Injuries.” The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States. U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative, www.boneandjointburden.org/.