Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Osteoarthritis Prevention

(continued)

No. 3: Avoid Injuries or Get Them Treated

Suffering a joint injury when you are young predisposes you to osteoarthritis in the same joint when you are older. Injuring a joint as an adult may put the joint at even greater risk. A long-term study of 1,321 graduates of Johns Hopkins Medical School found that people who injured a knee in adolescence or young adulthood were three times more likely to develop osteoarthritis in that knee, compared those who had not suffered an injury. People who injured their knee as an adult had a five times greater risk of osteoarthritis in the joint.

To avoid joint injuries when exercising or playing sports, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends the following:

  • Avoid bending knees past 90 degrees when doing half knee bends.
  • Keep feet as flat as possible during stretches to avoid twisting knees.
  • When jumping, land with knees bent.
  • Do warm-up exercises before sports, even less vigorous ones such as golf.
  • Cool down after vigorous sports.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes that provide shock absorption and stability.
  • Exercise on the softest surface available; avoid running on asphalt and concrete.

If you have a joint injury, it's important to get prompt medical treatment and take steps to avoid further damage, such as modifying high-impact movements or using a brace to stabilize the joint.

No. 4: Eat Right

Although no specific diet has been shown to prevent osteoarthritis, certain nutrients have been associated with a reduced risk of the disease or its severity. They include:

Omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats reduce joint inflammation, while unhealthy fats can increase it. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant/nut oils, including walnut, canola, soybean, flaxseed/linseed, and olive.

Vitamin C. One study of participants in the Framingham Study found that moderate intake of vitamin C (120-200 milligrams per day) reduced the risk of osteoarthritis progression threefold. You can get more vitamin C in your diet by eating green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Vitamin D. Another study of Framingham Study participants showed that people who have knee osteoarthritis and low blood levels of vitamin D are three times more likely to experience disease progression, compared to people with high levels of the vitamin. Your body makes most of the vitamin D it needs in response to sunlight. You can get more vitamin D in your diet by eating fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and herring; vitamin D-fortified milk and cereal; and eggs.

Reducing Osteoarthritis Pain

If you already have osteoarthritis, these same steps can be useful for reducing pain and other symptoms. In addition, there are many treatments your doctor can recommend or prescribe. They range from over-the-counter pain relievers to injections of corticosteroids or other compounds and, eventually, surgery to replace the painful, damaged joint.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on July 25, 2012
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Ice pack on knee
Article
Sore feet with high heel shoes
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman with pain increased by rainy weather
Slideshow
Woman in gym
SLIDESHOW
 
Keep Joints Healthy
SLIDESHOW
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
HEALTH CHECK
 
close up of man with gut
Article
man knee support
Article
 
woman with cold compress
QUIZ
Man doing tai chi
Article
 
hand gripping green rubber ball
Slideshow
person walking with assistance
Slideshow