The cartilage that cushions your joints can wear away over time. This condition is known as osteoarthritis. Without this cartilage for cushioning, the bones of a joint will hurt when they rub against each other.
Frayed cartilage can't heal or grow back. There's no way to reverse the arthritis once it has started, but there are ways to reduce the pain and protect the cartilage you still have. Below are some suggestions to slow the damage and reduce the pain.
1. Lose weight if you are overweight. Every pound you lose takes 4 pounds of pressure off the knee. You may actually slow the progress of arthritis if you lose a significant amount of weight.
2. Do aerobic exercise. Arthritis pain may make you reluctant to exercise, but being inactive makes the pain and stiffness worse.
3. Build strength. Focus on building up the muscles surrounding an arthritic joint. To improve symptoms in the knee, for example, strengthen the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh. A physical therapist or personal trainer can show you exercises that will help.
4. Stretch every day. Stretching increases a joint's range of motion. The more joints move, the more the cartilage gets lubricated by fluid in the joint.
5. Take over-the-counter pain relievers for flare ups. These include naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Read the label and take them only as directed.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.