– Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are key to preventing one of the most common medical conditions, osteoarthritis.
Today, more than 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, which is the progressive breakdown of cartilage in the knees, hips and shoulders. The breakdown causes joint pain and stiffness, and can ultimately impact an individual’s mobility and make every-day activities difficult and painful.
Ashvin K. Dewan, M.D., a knee and shoulder surgeon with Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, will be giving a free seminar on joint pain and preventing osteoarthritis on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Brazos Pavilion Conference Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. He says it’s possible to keep your cartilage strong and resilient by being active throughout your lifetime.
20s and 30s: Protect Your Joints
“Individuals in their 20s and 30s should exercise regularly and lift weights to strengthen the muscles that support joints,” Dewan said. “Maintain a healthy weight
and make sure you have a balanced diet that includes the proper amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to support bone and joint health.”
Though many people are fit at this age, those who are overweight or have experienced a severe injury within the past 10 years may begin to develop early signs of osteoarthritis, including joint pain and stiffness.
40s and 50s: Keep a Healthy Weight
The toll of earlier injuries or joint damage related to excess weight over time starts to mount. You may notice creaking or popping in your knees when climbing stairs, stiffness for a few minutes after waking, or a dull ache in your hips after exercise. Weight loss, physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications may alleviate these mild symptoms.
“Every extra pound gained puts four pounds of additional pressure on your knees and can further exacerbate osteoarthritis symptoms,” Dewan said. “Help your joints last as long as possible by eating right, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight.”
60s, 70s and Beyond: Stay Active
As you age, chances are greater that you’ll develop osteoarthritis in your hips, knees or shoulders. “Genetics, past injuries, excess weight and physical inactivity all play a role in its development and severity,” Dewan said.
Severe symptoms, like constant pain and very limited mobility, aren’t uncommon, but anti-inflammatory medication, weight loss, physical therapy and exercise can help. “Even in late age, losing weight can help decrease joint pain in the knees and hips, while regular stretching and strengthening can help lubricate hip, knee and shoulder joints and increase flexibility,” Dewan said.
Unfortunately, some people will reach a point where the pain is unbearable. “In the most severe cases, osteoarthritis can make it hard to walk, lift or reach, or even be self-sufficient,” Dewan said. “In these cases, joint replacement can provide pain relief, improve range of motion and mobility, and restore independence. Joint replacement is a good option to have down the road in a worst-case scenario, but the opportunity to decrease your chances of needing one is in your hands today.”
To schedule an appointment online with Ashvin K. Dewan, M.D., visit houstonmethodist.org/orthopedics or call 281.690.4678. Visit our Facebook page at fb.com/methodistsugarland for the latest news, events and information.
FREE JOINT PAIN SEMINAR
Is chronic joint pain slowing you down? Join Ashvin K. Dewan, M.D., for a free seminar on Wednesday, September 21 at 6 p.m. at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center. From diagnosis to rehabilitation, Dr. Dewan will discuss the latest medical advances to help you get back to the active life you enjoy. For more information or to register, visit events.houstonmethodist.org/sl-jointpain or call 281.274.7500.