By Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Maintaining good bones and joints is essential because once you lose your original cartilage it doesn’t regenerate.
When navigating through keeping your body and bones healthy, there are several steps people do correctly.
“You need good bone strength and your muscles and joints working together without excessive strain or stress,” said Kamaljeet Banga, an orthopedic surgeon for the Center for Orthopedic Care at Oswego Health and a clinical professor at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “Also your joints need to keep moving for good health.”
Banga offers five tips to strong bone health.
1. You can exercise the wrong way
Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, keeping your body healthy. Yet common mistakes can make working out detrimental to your health and body. You have workout warriors who go full-throttle for every workout and never take off. That can be dangerous and cause damage from overusing muscles.
“It is very important to take time to rest your muscles, so they are not fatigued,” said Banga, who has also completed fellowships in upper extremity and sports medicine.
“The chances of injuries decrease when you don’t have tired muscles and you are not constantly putting stress on your joints.”
In addition, a mistake an athlete makes is running in the wrong places. Banga suggests instead of hitting the pavement for a jog or run that you instead utilize the grass or a treadmill to absorb the blow to your hips, knees and ankles.
“You have to be aware that joint degeneration and stress can occur with that kind of impact. Every step you take on a hard surface is putting three to four times your body weight of impact through your lower extremity joints,” he added.
2. Don’t push through pain
There is a popular saying that pain is just weakness leaving the body. However, pain is letting the body know there is a problem that should not be ignored. If someone feels pain because of an injury, their first thought shouldn’t be simply working harder.
“You shouldn’t hesitate to see a physician when you start feeling pain,” said Banga. “Ignoring pain can lead to swelling, joint inflammation and further cartilage damage. If it is mild pain it will go away and will just need monitoring. Any moderate to severe pain, especially if it impacts movement or weight bearing through joints, can be a sign that the patient needs urgent attention.”
When it comes to heating vs icing, Banga recommends heat for chronic pain and icing for acute paint to decrease joint swelling.
3. Beware of ligamentous laxity
Ligamentous laxity can affect all the joints, such as neck, shoulders, ankles or knees. People often feel pain, frequent clicking and cracking, muscle spasms as well as increased chances of joint dislocations due to mild or moderate injury.
“Most people have naturally tight ligaments, but when your ligaments are loose, it can affect joints throughout your body like your shoulders, ankles and knees,” said Banga. “If you have been diagnosed with generalized ligament laxity, I would avoid sports like baseball because pitching can cause an elbow injury or basketball because of potential knee or ankle injuries.”
4. Swimming as a prevention
Swimming has multiple benefits including being a full body workout, burning calories, lowering risk of cardiovascular diseases, increasing energy levels and exercising without sweating. However, another great benefit is the relief it gives your joints.
“Your muscles are working, but you are not putting stress on your joints or causing any damage to your cartilage,” said Banga. “As good as running is for exercising, that is a lot of stress on lower extremity joints you put with each step you take. But with swimming because of the water buoyancy force, your weight and muscles are working together without any stress to the joints.”
5. FAI and sports hernia
One condition occurs from overuse and another may begin at birth and worsen over time from use.
Sports hernias are typically caused by repetitive or explosive motions, especially those that require twisting of the pelvis such as football, hockey, soccer, rugby, skiing, running and hurdling. The soft tissues that perform these movements found in the lower abdomen and pubic area are most frequently torn or injured.
“You tend to feel pain in the groin. It can be a feeling of intense pain, burning or pressure sensation,” said Banga. “That intense feeling of pressure can restrict much of your mobility while being active.”
Banga added that repetitive action without stretching can proceed an eventual sports hernia because the body needs to be flexible for twisting motions.
Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is a condition where the two bones in the hip impact together. The friction can significantly limit motion and cause tremendous groin pain. When the cartilage that provides cushion for the hips erodes, arthritis and joint deterioration can begin. It affects both athletes and others of all ages. It can develop mainly in adolescents due to increased activity.
“Parents who are planning on getting their children in sports should see a sports physician especially when they are younger,” said Banga. “We can help evaluate any possible pre-existing conditions when it comes to joints and bones.”