Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 1.2 million Kentuckians. “The hallmark of osteoarthritis is the breakdown of cartilage – the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement. As cartilage begins to deteriorate, the bones rub against one another. This can cause stiffness and pain leading to loss of joint function,” said Reid Brown, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Baptist Health Louisville.
Minimize your risk while protecting your joints with these do’s and don’ts:
- Do keep your weight down. For every one pound you shed, you’ll lower the load you exert on your knees by four pounds, Dr. Brown said.
- Do exercise. It keeps your joints and flexible and improves muscle strength. “Exercise keeps your thigh and calf muscles strong to take the pressure off your knees,” said Bobby Goodin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Baptist Health Louisville. Low-impact exercise is best, he added.
- Don’t ignore pain. If you experience pain after an activity, you may have overstressed your joints. “If the pain lasts longer than 10 days, see a doctor,” Dr. Goodin said.
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