Better Joint Health in 2024 – Break These Bad Orthopedic Habits
These days, Americans understand more about their health than at any time in history. From the grocery store to the medicine cabinet, we’re making smarter choices more often on average to our individual and collective benefit.
But even if we understand calorie intake, nutrition, and dental hygiene, one aspect of our overall fitness deserves a refresher: our joint health.
As 2024 approaches and 2023 fades into memory, it’s the perfect time to review our orthopedic habits and develop better ones.
Bad Orthopedic Habits & How to Replace Them in Chapin, SC
Bad behavior every now and then can be overlooked, but habits add up fast. It’s important to remember that as knees, hips, ankles, and backs go, so goes your ability to move. Younger and older Americans benefit from taking steps today to improve joint health tomorrow.
Letting Joint Pain (Or Anything Else) Keep You Down
In health, movement is the name of the game. But arthritis, back pain, and other ailments can quickly put us in a chair and keep us there. That’s bad news for your joint health, but it’s also bad news for your heart health and greater well-being.
Even mild exercise can strengthen muscles to the point that they actually support weakened joints. Additionally, improved blood flow can reduce swelling, alleviating stubborn joint pain that may not go away when you’re sitting down.
Do This Instead
Start with light exercise, like a walk around the neighborhood, a swim in your local pool, or even stretching in your living room. If you’ve been ignoring joint pain, now is the time to get help. Reach out to your local orthopedic doctors to find a way forward in 2024.
Avoiding Weights & Strength Training
If you suffer from joint pain but try your best to keep active, you’re already part of the solution you need. That said, for optimal joint health, it may be wise to pick up some weights now and then.
Walking and other light exercise is wonderful, but strength training is even better—especially for your joints. Certain conditions (like osteoarthritis and hip arthritis) benefit especially from light strength training.
Do This Instead
Strong muscles can better support joints, taking pressure off bones and managing pain. Even three sets of 6-10 reps with lightweight dumbbells or elastic bands can improve strength when used regularly. Start easy and bring the weight up as you go.
Exercising Too Hard
Some of us struggle with anything less than a strenuous workout. Former athletes are the top offenders. While regular exercise is crucial to our health, strenuous exercise can actually achieve the opposite—especially if you’re dealing with an old rotator cuff tear or lingering tennis elbow.
From the golf course to the weight room, we need to be careful about our fitness routines. Light to medium intensity is the objective, but if you feel pain (as opposed to just aches), it’s time to dial the effort back.
Do This Instead
Depending on the cause of your joint pain, it could be fine to turn up the heat on your fitness routine now and then. But it’s also possible to get your sweat on while avoiding affected joints. Try combining several different forms of exercise (walking, jogging, weight training, cardio) with other low-impact exercises, including:
- Water aerobics
- Tai Chi
- Resistance training
- Bocce ball or shuffleboard
Neglecting Vitamins For Joint Health
Most of us take an “all or nothing” approach to supplements. We may pop our multivitamin in the morning and congratulate ourselves for a job well done.
But if you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, or other forms of joint pain, you may need more vitamins and nutrients than your standard pill offers.
Do This Instead
Calcium and vitamin D are your top allies for joint health. Keep a lookout for these top minerals in your supplements, along with:
- Vitamin E
For more information on the best vitamins and minerals for joint health, check out this helpful guide from the Arthritis Foundation.
Carrying Extra Weight
Weight and bad joints mix like oil and water. Whether you’re carrying extra weight in the form of fat, or hauling heavy bags and gear, there’s no denying that weight is a killer.
Excess weight can cause or worsen everything from simple ankle pain to severe hip issues, increasing your need for anterior hip replacement or other orthopedic surgeries.
For the best shot at a long, happy life, we should be cautious about how much weight we carry. Naturally, that pursuit starts in the kitchen and continues on our community streets and trails.
Do This Instead
Let’s tackle the simpler issue first: if you’re carrying heavy backpacks, purses, or other gear, try spreading the load out evenly. Consider bags with hefty shoulder straps or crossbody straps for extra support. Orthopedic shoe inserts, shoes with more support, and even orthopedic braces can also work wonders.
Now for the more difficult issue: combating excess weight on ourselves. If you’ve tried to lose weight before and fallen short, 2024 may be the perfect time to speak to a doctor about medically assisted weight loss programs or proper nutrition.
Healthy eating combined with even light activity can make a drastic difference in a small amount of time. By solving for excess weight now, you’re limiting the impact that joint pain may have down the line—that’s on top of improving your health across the board for the foreseeable future!
Let’s Make Better Habits Together in 2024
At Palmetto Bone & Joint, it’s our job to keep South Carolina moving! That includes breaking the worst orthopedic habits. There’s a silver lining to this, though—better habits for joint health are easy to pick up, easy to stick to, and make a huge impact on our overall well-being.
To learn how you can make better orthopedic habits in the New Year, contact Palmetto Bone & Joint today at (864) 833-3046 or online. Let’s set you up for long-term success so that you can keep moving, living, and laughing in Chapin, Newberry, and Clinton, SC!
Don’t Start 2024 with Lingering Joint Pain. Get Help Today!
Of all the bad orthopedic habits out there, one is definitely the worst—ignoring joint pain. If you’ve suffered from joint pain for months or even years, that pain may not improve on its own. Sedentary lifestyles are a leading cause of premature death in the elderly. Let an expert at Palmetto Bone & Joint diagnose and treat your pain so that you can move toward a healthier tomorrow.