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It’s no secret that everyday life can take a toll on your joints. However, adopting the right lifestyle habits can help reduce wear and tear, keeping your joints in tip-top shape at every stage of life.

Thomas Calton, MD, at Utah Orthopedics in Ogden, Utah, performs minimally invasive joint replacement surgery on a regular basis, including outpatient hip and knee procedures. If you want to minimize joint pain, he recommends adopting these five habits.

1. Watch your weight

First and foremost, reaching and maintaining your ideal weight is the most important thing you can do for your body, especially for your hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints.

Large joints, such as your hips and knees, can handle regular stress. However, carrying even a few extra pounds can increase the strain and lead to additional wear and tear on these joints. But that’s not all.

Weight gain can also increase inflammation in your entire system, which could put you at risk of developing joint pain in other areas of your body, such as your hands.

2. Keep moving

A common mistake many people make, especially if they already have joint pain, involves physical activity. That’s because it’s a natural response to stop doing things when you feel pain. However, not moving is the wrong decision when it comes to your joints.

Believe it or not, exercising can help ease joint pain, reduce joint stiffness, and strengthen the muscles that support your joints. Plus, regular exercise can help you get to a healthy weight.

3. Protect your joints

While it’s essential to keep your body moving, it’s also crucial to make choices that protect your joints, such as the following:

  • Don’t overdo physical activity
  • Avoid repetitive movements
  • Engage in low-impact exercises that minimize joint stress
  • Include strength training and stretching in your fitness regimen
  • Practice good body mechanics
  • Wear proper shoes for your activities

If you already have joint pain, Dr. Calton can offer personalized suggestions to help reduce your pain and keep you from suffering additional joint issues.

4. Eat right

There’s a reason why people say, “You are what you eat.” That’s because you need to feed your body the right way to keep it healthy and strong, and that goes for your joints, too.

Dr. Calton recommends following a low-fat, low-calorie diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. For an added bonus, try an anti-inflammatory diet that includes:

  • Fish and seafood
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts
  • Soy foods, such as tofu or tempeh

Certain supplements — such as calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C — may also help your bone health and reduce inflammation. However, make sure to speak with Dr. Calton before taking any supplements.

5. Stop smoking

You already know you should stop smoking for your lungs. But did you know you should do it for your joints, too?

Smoking not only increases your risk of suffering bone fractures and developing osteoporosis, but it also increases your chances of developing painful joint conditions, such as:

  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

In fact, smoking could increase your sensitivity to pain in general. Studies show that approximately 18% of Americans smoke, but smokers make up more than half the patients seeking pain treatment.

Do you have joint pain? Dr. Calton can help you get the relief you need. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Utah Orthopedics today.

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