Everyone has achy joints every now and then, though, for some people, joint pain is a constant struggle. Whether it’s in your hands, knees, or ankles, it can have a major impact on your quality of life. Luckily, saving yourself from joint pain isn’t impossible. In fact, most people’s joint pain is caused by everyday habits they’re not even aware of. By learning to avoid these habits, it’s possible to manage joint pain.
Maintaining joint health is about learning to avoid the common habits that can leave lasting damage. Try to find one or two of the following you’re guilty of and work toward gradual improvement.
Wearing shoes with poor arch support or using any ill-fitting footwear is one surefire cause of joint pain in the feet and ankles. Improperly fitted shoes put your feet in awkward angles, forcing you to change the way you walk. This can even have an impact on the knees and hips as well. Try wearing insoles to help properly align your feet and distribute weight evenly. Often times poor foot support can lead to conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, Metatarsalgia, and even Lower Back Pain.
Especially for those of us sitting down all day, Poor Posture can have a significant impact on your joint health. Sitting pinches and strains the bones in the lower back and over time can even deform the spine. To keep your back healthy, make sure to sit up straight when sitting, with your shoulders back and your feet flat on the floor.
While sitting posture is important for joint health, it’s important to practice good posture at all times. For example, when you’re walking, be sure to keep your shoulders back, your back straight, and your knees aligned. Doing so will put less stress on your joints, meaning they tire and wear down less easily. When you have to spend long periods of time sitting, consider using Lumbar Supports or Seat Cushions to help properly align your spine.
As we age, we begin to Lose Bone Mass, which makes us more prone to injury and conditions like arthritis. Luckily, regular strength training slows the rate of bone loss and can even trigger the growth of new bone. That’s why it’s a good idea to incorporate a few strength exercises into your regular exercise routine. If you have limited mobility you can still exercise. Try incorporating these Seated Chair Exercises into your daily routine.
The two most important nutrients for bone health are calcium and vitamin D. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get both, like dairy products. If you think you might need a vitamin supplement, talk to your doctor.
We all have different sleeping styles, though some are better for our bones than others. Sleeping on your back or sides each has its pros and cons, but the worst for spine health is sleeping on your stomach. The reason is that this forces us to turn our necks while we sleep, straining our muscles and bones. It also pinches vertebrae tougher for long periods. Positioning Pillows are a great tool to help relieve pressure off unwanted areas and keep your body properly positioned throughout the night.
Any repetitive motion like typing or texting can, over time, begin to wear out your joints leading to De Quervain’s Tendonitis, better known as “texting thumb”. It doesn’t mean you should stop doing it, though it pays to be mindful of how it’s affecting your body. If possible, avoid texting with your thumbs, as this places extra strain on the joint there. Instead, use the tips of your other fingers while texting.
If you already suffer from Texting Thumb, try wearing a thumb splint to reduce symptoms.
Stretching is an important part of any workout routine. It helps warm up the muscles to ensure they’re not strained when performing physical activities. This will allow you to practice better form and ensure your joints are in perfect alignment. Yoga is a great way to incorporate gentle stretches that help keep your joints flexible. Try Some of These Beginner Yoga Techniques to Start.
Especially when starting a new exercise, the best way to protect your joints and muscles is to start slowly and work your way up. Once you gain familiarity with your workout, you can begin to push yourself a bit more. If you ever feel a sharp pain or soreness, stop exercising immediately.
People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for joint trouble in their ankles, knees, and hips. The reason is pretty simple–all of these joints are forced to carry a heavier load, and so they tend to wear out faster. There are lots of small steps you can take to live a healthier lifestyle and shed some pounds, consider these:
While ill-fitting shoes are a surefire way to cause joint pain, even the most comfortable pair of heels are just as bad. They affect everything from your ankles, to knees, to your lower back, placing extra strain on all these joints as you walk. Women who wear high heel shoes on a daily basis can even suffer from an Increased Risk of Osteoarthritis. While certainly not a cure, high heel insoles can help to relieve some pain and distribute weight - if you must wear heels, consider A Pair of These for some protection.
Carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder or back can have a similar effect on your joints as poor posture. It can cause your spine and other bones to deform over time. The best way to avoid this is to keep your bag as light as possible, and rather than carrying it on one side of your body all the time, try alternating sides every day.
While joint pain can cause sleep disruptions, the reverse is also true. Missing sleep can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body which can trigger psoriatic arthritis and a range of other conditions. This is particularly problematic because it creates a cycle of pain that is difficult to recover from.
Did you know that nicotine reduces blood flow? It also decreases calcium absorption and slows the formation of new bones. No matter how you slice it, smoking, vaping, or enjoying tobacco in any other way is bad news for your joints. While it might be difficult to quit, dropping cigarettes could one day save you a broken bone.
If you’re experiencing pain, we recommend home remedies like rest, Ice, Compression, elevation, and sometimes even Heat to ease discomfort. Perhaps most importantly of all, if you notice joint pain that lasts longer than a few days, be sure to talk about it with your doctor. Failing to do so can cause the pain to become worse, potentially causing lasting damage.
In addition to cutting back on unhealthy habits, you can also take steps to improve your joint health. Try these solutions to be proactive about your joint pain.
Maintaining your joint health doesn’t have to mean turning your entire lifestyle on its head. All it takes is a bit of extra time and attention to ensure bad habits aren’t leaving lasting consequences. With consistent effort, you can help relieve and prevent joint pain for a more carefree and active life.