By John Leary, PA-C
Reliant Medical Group Orthopedics
Many people do not realize that there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of getting arthritis in the future. While you cannot control factors like inherited genes from your parents, there are many other risk factors you can control.
Weight Loss: Being overweight increases your risk of getting osteoarthritis and can make your symptoms worse. Studies have shown that losing even a moderate amount of weight can help cut your risk of developing osteoarthritis significantly. Losing weight will also help take pressure off joints that are already hurting.
Prevent Injuries: Any injury to your joints can potentially lead to arthritis later in life. Take care to prevent injuries while participating in sports or exercise. Be sure to stretch carefully before exercising to help prepare your body for exercise and help prevent injuries.
Get Treatment: If you have an injury, take proper care of it immediately. This will help the injury heal properly and prevent additional problems that could lead to arthritis later in life. Ligamentous injuries (for example ACL tears in the knee) which are untreated can cause joint instability and lead to early joint wear down the road.
Limit Joint Stress: Be sure to perform daily tasks such as lifting and bending properly to avoid overloading your joints. Use your largest muscles for strenuous tasks so you don’t overstress your joints. This will help protect them from damage that could lead to arthritis. Avoid high impact activities such as running and jumping. Low impact activities such as biking, swimming and elliptical machines offer a good cardiac workout with less stress and impact on your joints.
Quiz: Assess Your Risk of Arthritis
The following 5 questions will help determine if you are at increased risk of developing arthritis:
- Are you 45 years of age or older?
- Have you ever had an injury to your knee that was severe enough to put you in bed, or that forced you to use a cane, crutch or brace? Or require surgery?
- Are you more than ten pounds overweight?
- Have you in the past or do you currently participate in more than three hours per day of heavy physical activities – such as bending, lifting, or carrying items on a regular basis?
- Did you have hip problems that caused you to limp as a child?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be at increased risk for developing arthritis. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how you can prevent arthritis.
Note: Source for questions above are from the Arthritis Foundation.
About John Leary, PA-C
Physician Assistant John Leary is a graduate of the Physician Assistant Studies Program at Northeastern University. John first started in the medical field as an emergency room technician. He later decided to become a Physician Assistant and has been working in orthopedics and orthopedic surgery since 2001. “I worked closely with many orthopedic and hand surgeons during my early days in medicine in the emergency department and developed...View profile View posts by this doctor