18 Oct

The best way to care for your joints is to keep them and your muscles, ligaments and bones strong and stable

A joint is the connection between two bones, such as the hip or elbow. Smooth tissue called cartilage and synovium, together with a lubricant called synovial fluid, cushion the joints to prevent bones from rubbing together. However, ageing, injury, even sitting the wrong way or carrying too much weight, can erode your cartilage. This can lead to joint damage and arthritis.

A healthy diet and supplementation is important for joint health. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and beans, and tofu are good sources of calcium. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but should be avoided during 10am and 3pm. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in salmon, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts.

Caring for your joints should happen through all stages of your life.

Kids and teens:

  • Avoid making babies walk too early.
  • Don’t over train.
  • Vary sporting pursuits.

20s and 30s:

  • Movement is essential. Stretch at least once a day.
  • Watch your posture – from hunching over a computer to carrying a baby on the same hip – all these can put extra strain on your joints. Move around once every hour and invest in supportive shoes.
  • Quit smoking and watch your alcohol intake.

40s, 50s and 60s:

  • These are the decades when the risk of arthritis increases.
  • Keep moving – walking, swimming and cycling are all recommended for bone support.
  • Lose excess weight – an extra 1kg of weight is the equivalent of 3 to 5kg of force on the lower joints.
  • Consider a supplement – ask your pharmacist for advice.

70s and beyond:

  • Joint pain isn’t inevitable, but it’s more common at this stage. Many people experience joint pain from age-related wear and tear, less fluid in the joints and cartilage erosion.
  • Include gentle, varied exercise in your daily routine.
  • Core strength is important to improve balance and prevent falls.
  • Feed your bones with a diet rich in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.
  • Prevent falls.

Chat to the pharmacists or clinic sisters at National Road Pharmacy about what you can do to improve your joint health.

031 764 0311

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