When it comes to advanced knee and hip problems, osteoarthritis is most often to blame. (Here’s the scoop on why you might be at risk.) With this inflammatory disease, the cushion of cartilage between your bones breaks down, allowing those bones to rub together. Here’s how to maintain healthy joints:
Healthy joints tip #1: Be mindful of excess weight
Besides aging, obesity is the biggest risk factor for joint damage. “Because of the biomechanics of the hips and knees, if you lose even one pound, that’s five pounds less [of pressure] across the joint,” explains Dr. Jason Werle, clinical associate professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.
Healthy joints tip #2: Lessen the impact
“Running is fine — if you don’t have the ‘bad genes’ [a family history of osteoarthritis],” says Dr. Khalid A. Syed, an orthopedic surgeon at the University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital. If you are genetically predisposed, however, he favours workouts with less pounding, like cycling or swimming. But if you’re truly not a fan of running, our best tips are sure to change your mindset.
Healthy joints tip #3: Fight inflammation
Whether nutrition matters for joint health is “an evolving science,” says Dr. Syed, “but there’s evidence that turmeric, for example, may have [benefits due to its] anti-inflammatory effects.” On the flip side, a recent study in Arthritis Care & Research suggested that eating lots of saturated fats may accelerate knee osteoarthritis, possibly by stoking inflammation.