Joint Health

Anytime two body parts hinge there will be cartilage and surrounding tissue there to support the proper functioning of these joints. Fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, shoulder and hips are just some examples of where our body parts have to move in opposition to ensure mobility. Without healthy joints, everyday tasks such as walking, writing and doing simple chores can be painful and debilitating. Poor joints can prevent people from enjoying their favorite pastimes and hobbies or even force a person from their once active lifestyle into a sedentary one. When the ability to stay mobile reduces, it can lead to a downward health spiral where the loss of joint function can contribute to weight gain through inactivity and possible cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes risks. Staying flexible and having good range of motion in the joints can help reduce the risk of other health problems.

The smooth tissue that forms a cushion between bones is called cartilage. This shock absorbing skeletal feature is supported by the muscles surrounding them and it is lubricated by synovial fluid to keep things moving smoothly. When the fluids and cartilage are damaged through wear and tear or trauma, there is an increased likelihood that movement of the affected joint will be painful and inflammation will set in. The inflammatory response is one of the body’s natural responses but can have negative effects on other systems so it is important to stay on top of joint health to prevent more serious problems from arising.

For load bearing joints like hips, knees and ankles, a risk factor for the breakdown of cartilage is excessive pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight can aid in the lowering of this risk but the effects of aging on joints can eventually catch up to those without weight issues. Certainly, staying active helps because exercise can build muscle to support the joints and it encourages blood flow to keep the joints supplied with the building blocks needed to repair them and maintain proper functioning.

Protecting joints from injury is also essential to proper self-care but so is taking care of the bones and joints that connect them so they can resist injury and heal properly if there is unavoidable trauma.

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