October 12-20 is Bone and Joint Action Week. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we know how important it is for patients to maintain the health of the 26 bones and 33 joints in each of your feet. Over half of all Americans are affected by some type of bone or joint disease and these conditions are the number one cause of long term pain and disability. Although there are risk factors beyond our control, such as age and genetics, there are many ways we can improve joint health. Make small changes a little at a time and they can have a big impact over the long run.
Below are some suggestions:
1. Don’t skip warm-up stretching and cool downs after exercise. In many instances, arthritis develops in joints that have sustained an injury in the past. Taking care to make sure your joints and muscles are ready for exercise is a good way to prevent injury.
2. Reduce sugar, fried and processed foods in your diet. All of these are known to trigger inflammatory responses in the body which can aggravate or cause joint trouble.
3. Try a new sport: take a dance class, join a walking club or take up tennis. Regular physical activity is one of the most important ways to keep bones and joints healthy. Weight-bearing exercise increases bone strength. Exercise can also help maintain flexibility and range of motion as well as strengthen muscles which support the joints.
4. Weigh yourself once a week. Being overweight puts extra stress on the joints of your feet and ankles and can make them weaker and more susceptible to joint disorders. If you are currently overweight, talk to your physician about a healthy eating plan that can help you gradually lose weight.
5. Get joint pain checked out sooner rather than later. If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, swelling or redness around the joints in your feet or ankles contact our Somers Point office for an appointment by calling: (609) 927-4894. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, will examine your feet and ankles, get a complete medical history and maybe order laboratory tests or imaging studies such as an x-ray or MRI to diagnose the cause of your discomfort. There are over 100 kinds of arthritis alone as well as several other conditions that can affect your joints. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is the best way to ensure the best possible health of your joints and the ability to enjoy the active lifestyle that you love.