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Keeping Joints Healthy As We Age

As we get older, a wide variety of problems and diseases can begin to strike our joints. Most of these are problems with the softer tissue that rests between our bones; as the tissue gets dry or disappears entirely, bones can start to rub against each other and cause issues like stiffness, swelling, pain, or tenderness.

Arthritis is the most common type of joint problem, but you may also face issues like tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, carpal tunnel, and a variety of similar problems depending on how you used your joints throughout your life.

However, there are a number of things that can be done to stop or slow these sorts of problems, and that's what we'll be looking at today. As far as prevention goes, one of the best things to do is take care of your joints throughout your life and try to avoid the heaviest impacts and injuries. For people with particularly active lifestyles, though, this can be a major challenge, but not an insurmountable one. The right types of exercise can actually keep your joints safer, and low-impact activities can be much better for your joints overall. Straight movements will help prevent the kind of damage that sports like tennis can ultimately cause, and toning the muscles around your major joints can help further ease issues like stiffness.

Unfortunately, however hard we try, not all joint problems can be prevented. This is especially true in the cases where the issue is disease. Even a healthy individual can fall victim to a variety of diseases, and the effects of being sick could result in major damage to your joints over time. This isn't easy to prevent, but it is possible to treat. Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend one of a variety of solutions.

At the mildest level, hydrotherapy (or exercise in water) may be suggested as a way of reducing pressure on the joints while continuing to exercise. Injections are a step upwards, and may involve cortisone shots, tissue injections, or even the removal of liquid or tissue from the affected region. For the most serious cases, a doctor may recommend either partial or total joint replacement through surgery as a way of solving the problem. Joint replacements are more common in the lower body, such as the hips and knees, but on occasion may be placed higher as a result of the unique circumstances a patient may face.

Joint problems aren't fun, but with guidance from your doctor, most of them are treatable or preventable.