The bones and joints of the human body often experience significant wear and tear over time. These parts of the anatomy frequently become injured or suffer deterioration from overuse, aging or disease. You can minimize damage to your joints by following a few tips that will keep them healthy and functioning for a lifetime:
Understanding Your Joints
The joints of the human body are composed of a number of bones, ligaments and tendons that function together to allow a wide range of movements. When any one of these components is damaged from injury or disease, the entire joint can be affected. Careful diagnosis can help to find the underlying problem so that appropriate treatment can be administered.
Common Joint Problems
Individuals experience a variety of joint problems including:
· A sprain of the muscles surrounding the joint
· A tear in the ligament connecting the joint
· Wear in the cartilage of the joint
· Osteoarthritis, wear-and-tear on the joint from aging
· Rheumatoid arthritis, an immune system disease that causes joint pain
· Fracture of the joint
· Dislocation of the joint
· Other medical conditions
Orthopaedics is the medical field that specializes conditions of the bones, joints and spine. An orthopaedic doctor undergoes additional training in diagnosis and treatment of these conditions to relieve pain and restore function. Today, physicians can choose from a number of advanced treatments that help patients overcome joint problems.
Treating Painful Joints
Treatments for joint pain depend upon the cause of the condition, the severity of pain and the longevity of the pain. Minor sprains usually improve with rest, icing of the joint and over-the-counter pain medications. A fracture of a bone in the joint may require surgery and implants to help stabilize the joint.
Osteoarthritis associated with aging generally responds to anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and bracing supports. However, surgery is sometimes required to remove damaged tissue. In some cases, a joint must be replaced with an artificial implant. These surgeries are generally very successful when combined with post-surgical physical therapy. Joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis may require treatment with immunosuppressant medications.
Tips For Maintaining Healthy Joints
Orthopaedic specialists recommend a number of actions to help keep your joints healthy and pain-free throughout your life:
· Keeping moving – Sedentary lifestyles cause supporting muscles to become weaker, increasing the likelihood of joint problems. Exercise regularly to prevent joint problems in the future.
· Eat A Healthy Diet – Choose whole grains, green, leafy vegetables and dairy products to provide the nutrients necessary for healthy bones and muscles
· Protect joints from injury – Avoid overuse of joints during athletic or other activities. Wear proper shoes to prevent stress on joints and the spine. Avoid falls that can cause long-term damage to delicate joint structures.
· Have minor problems treated early – If you experience a joint injury, see a doctor immediately for treatment to prevent more serious problems in the future.
· See a doctor for ongoing joint pain – Your orthopaedic doctor has a number of treatments available to relieve pain and improve mobility.