If you’re an athlete, you could be at risk for osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and stiffness in the hip, knee and thumb joints. The disease is commonly associated with these risk factors: old age, obesity, genetics and gender. Few people are aware that athletes are also at risk.
Studies show that athletes are also susceptible because of past injuries and chronic wear and tear on the joints. In fact, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among athletes.
How Injuries Lead to Osteoarthritis (OA)
OA develops when joint cartilage gets damaged and bones grind together during movement. If cartilage degeneration occurs after an injury, like a broken leg or torn ligament, it can lead to post-traumatic arthritis, which has been found to cause 10 to 15 percent of osteoarthritis cases.
According to Guillem Gonzalez-Lomas, MD and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, most sports injuries occur in the knees, which then become prone to arthritis and chronic knee pain.
Whether you have osteoarthritis or not, there are several things you can do to prevent further degeneration to your joints, reduce inflammation, and eliminate knee pain.
5 Ways To Slow Down or Prevent Osteoarthritis in Athletes
Get proper treatment for injuries.If you experience any type of traumatic energy while playing sports or any activity, seek treatment from your doctor immediately. Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in particular can lead to the early development of osteoarthritis if not treated quickly and correctly.
Pay attention to your body during exercise.Ignore the old adage, “No pain, no gain.” Whenever you feel pain anywhere, especially in your joints, stop and evaluate. Do not ignore it and push through in hopes it will go away. Rest and ice may be just what you need to get back on track.
Add strength training to workout routines. Building and strengthening muscle groups that support joints is key to keeping them protected. For knees in particular, exercises like walking lunges, walking on the cardio stepmill and squats target the quads and hamstrings, which help support the knee joint. When in doubt, talk to a personal trainer or fitness instructor at your local gym to identify exercises that strengthen specific muscle-supporting joints.
Keep a healthy weight.It goes without saying that extra weight can cause a lot of unwanted stress on joints. Exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein goes a long way toward maintaining a lean physique.
Take a supplement that treats joint pain.Flexify Advanced Joint Support is used by athletes and others affected by arthritis. Unlike other supplements and prescription medications that provide only temporary pain relief, Flexify works to eliminate pain by resolving the issue that caused it. Each tablet contains seven clinically tested, natural ingredients that help build and maintain healthy joints and cartilage, slowing the progression of osteoarthritis or preventing it completely.
Healthy Joints Make Happy Athletes
Old age won’t necessarily hold you back, but your joints could. Take care of them now, so you can enjoy living a full and active life well into your senior years.