Nothing lasts forever, including your joints. Decades of running, jumping, kneeling, and climbing stairs eventually wears down their cushioning cartilage, leaving bone rubbing painfully against bone. When joint cartilage erodes, joints become stiff, swollen, and arthritic.
Although arthritis comes in many different varieties, by far the most common kind is osteoarthritis. As we get older -- and heavier -- more and more of us become vulnerable to sore, stiff, swollen joints.
Should I wrap or brace my knee?
What pain reliever can I take when it hurts?
Should I use heat or ice on my knee?
Could the pain be a sign that my arthritis is getting worse?
Are there any activities I shouldn't do?
Do supplements like glucosamine help?
About 27 million people complain of joint pain due to osteoarthritis. If you're one of them, here's a look at some of your treatment options. Although these medications and techniques won't cure your joint problems, they can relieve your pain and get your knees, wrists, hips, and shoulders moving more like they used to again.
Simple Ways to Protect Your Joints
The size of the number on your bathroom scale could have a big effect on how you feel. Osteoarthritis is more common -- and severe -- in people who are overweight. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese and getting regular exercise are important ways to take pressure off already overburdened joints and help control pain. Here are some ways to keep a healthy weight with food and exercise, and a few other tips to help you relieve joint pain.
Diet for Osteoarthritis
Eating a healthy, low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins will help you control your weight.
When you're in pain, the last thing you may want to do is exercise, but it's actually one of the best things you can do for your joints. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are most appropriate for you. Physical therapy is also a common part of treatment in people with OA. To see the most improvement, combine these three types of exercises into your routine:
Aerobic exercises, including walking, dancing, and riding a bicycle, will keep your heart healthy and your muscles strong while controlling your weight. Swimming is an excellent aerobic exercise for people with osteoarthritis, because the buoyancy and warm water support and soothe achy joints.
Strength-training exercises, such as lifting weights, strengthen the muscles so they can better support the joints.