Here are tips to keep joints healthy as you age – 10/12/2022

For joints to work well, they need cartilage, a slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones and acts to absorb shock and help joints move smoothly. According to Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic (USA), many people lose cartilage as they age, but that does not mean that replacement (prosthesis) is inevitable.

Cartilage degenerates for a variety of reasons, explains Sanchez-Sotelo. People can be born with abnormally shaped bones or a tendency to have weaker cartilage. Obesity, overuse, or injury from accidents can also damage joints and cartilage.

“When cartilage degenerates, the body forms bone spurs,” says Sanchez-Sotelo. “This is a reaction to the main problem, cartilage degeneration. The bone spurs can bump into each other and become painful. Many patients worry about them, but just removing them will not cure the problem, except in very rare circumstances. “

Loss of articular cartilage is the essence of a common joint dysfunction we call osteoarthritis, also called osteoarthritis. Sanchez-Sotelo says most of his patients with the condition are in their 60s and are coming to a healthcare provider with symptoms that have developed over time: joint pain, stiffness and loss of movement.

The orthopedist says a person can take steps at a young age to protect their joints as they age. Having strong muscles around your joints can help ease the load on your joints. However, people who engage in high-level physical exercise have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important, as obesity damages joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin are popular supplements for joint pain, but convincing evidence that they work is lacking, says Sanchez-Sotelo.

He also gives these suggestions for managing pain associated with osteoarthritis:

Change your activities. If you have osteoarthritis in your hip or knee, instead of running, which results in your joints hitting your joints, you can try cycling.

Reduce the load on joints with objects to help with movement. Using a cane can help reduce the load on your hip, knee, and ankle joints, and lessen pain. A knee brace, worn over clothing, transfers the load to the healthier side of the knee joint

If pain persists, consider using over-the-counter medicationssuch as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. However, be aware of side effects such as ulcers and kidney or heart problems. In general, narcotic medications should not be used for osteoarthritis.

If pain continues, consider injectable medication., such as cortisone or toradol, which help relieve pain when applied to the joint. Again, these medications have side effects, so be sure to consult a healthcare professional.

the hyaluronic acid, which is also injectable, uses components similar to lubricating joint fluid to try to reconstitute it. Its use has been more successful with the knee joint than the hip and shoulder joints.

Some injections marketed as regenerative drugs include stem cells and platelet-rich plasma. Currently, many people regard its use as experimental, as there is no consistent evidence on its effectiveness.

“In the past, older people just accepted joint pain,” says Sanchez-Sotelo. “Now people are living longer and want to stay active as they age. Not everyone is destined for joint replacement. There are some people in their 80s and 90s who have great joints.”

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