Joints are mobile connections between two bones, made up of various fibrous connective tissue. A majority of joints allow for various movements throughout the body, such as rotation, flexion, and extension.
Joints allow our bodies to perform daily tasks; however, when they are injured, they can cause pain, discomfort, and even long-term joint damage. Here's how you can keep your joints healthy and reduce your chances of experiencing a joint injury.
Types of Joint Injuries
Joint injuries are typically a result of twisting, over-using, or experiencing trauma to the affected area. Joint injuries often affect the wrists, knees, and ankles. The four most common types of joint injuries include:
The symptoms of a joint injury may vary depending on the location, type, and severity of the injury that has been sustained. However, these are the most common signs of a mild joint injury:
- Pain around the affected area.
- Discoloration and bruising.
- Inability to bear weight on the affected joint.
- Limited range of motion.
- A “popping” feeling/sound at the time of the injury.
If you notice or experience any of these symptoms, they may indicate a more severe injury, and you should seek medical attention immediately:
- Visual deformity.
- Bone poking or breaking through the skin.
- Inability to move the affected joint.
- Rapid swelling.
Daily behaviors and lifestyle choices can negatively affect how your joints function and feel as you continue to age. When you fall into a pattern of these bad habits, you increase your risk of developing joint disease and experiencing joint pain in the future.
The following tips can help you lower your chances of sustaining a joint injury or experiencing joint pain:
While exercising regularly can have positive effects on your general health, when it’s done improperly or excessively, it can lead to joint injuries and long-term joint damage. Follow these fitness tips to keep your joints healthy while you embark on your fitness journey:
- Stretch and warm-up before exercise.
- Cool-down after exercise.
- Take at least one day each week to rest.
- Exercise separate muscle groups on different days.
- Use proper technique.
- Don’t ignore any aches and pains.
At Good Samaritan, we offer Sports Performance services where athletes and others who stay active can be taught stretches and other body mechanics to help protect the body from joint damage.
Walk Carefully in Slippery Conditions
When weather conditions are wet, snowy, or slippery, the risk of experiencing a slip or fall spikes. Taking these preventative measures during more dangerous weather, you can protect yourself from sustaining a joint injury:
- Wear appropriate winter boots and slip-resistant footwear.
- Be mindful of wet floors.
- Take shorter steps outdoors.
- Walk slowly.
- Avoid steps if possible or use the handrail for support.
- Carry your cell phone in case of an emergency.
While these steps can help reduce your chances of experiencing a fall, accidents still happen. If you experience a fall and believe that you may have a serious injury, you should call 911 or seek emergency medical attention.
Wear Proper Footwear
When you have a profession that requires you to spend most of your day on your feet, you’re more at risk for developing joint-pain or even overuse injuries in your ankles. It is important to wear shoes that provide support and reduce the stress placed on the ankles.
Lighten Your Load
Carrying heavy bags and purses places unnecessary strain on your neck, back, and shoulders. Use the following tips to decrease the stress placed on your joints:
- Make sure your bag is no more than 10 lbs
- Alternate which shoulder you carry your bag on
- Carry bags with wider straps to distribute the weight more evenly
- Carry a smaller bag or your wallet, leaving your heavier one in the car
Readjust When Performing Repetitive Tasks
When you perform repetitive tasks with your hands, you can damage the small joints in your fingers and wrists. To prevent this, you should frequently take breaks and reposition your hands while performing such tasks. It is helpful to use good posture and regularly practice hand exercises to strengthen the hand muscles.
Lift from Your Knees
Whether you have a job that requires you to move heavy objects or you’re rearranging your living room, lifting large amounts of weight repeatedly can lead to overuse injuries and stress fractures. You also put yourself at risk of experiencing a joint injury in your shoulders and back.
Learning and using proper lifting techniques play an important role in preventing injury. Remember to bend at the knees rather than the waist when handling heavy objects. Taking frequent breaks also helps to prevent excessive strain on your joints.
Don’t Ignore Pain and Discomfort
People often find themselves dismissing minor aches and pains, assuming that they’ll resolve themselves eventually. However, ignoring the signs of a joint injury can lead to long-term damage if left untreated. If you have been experiencing persistent pain for more than three days, you should speak with an orthopedic specialist to further discuss your symptoms and their possible causes.
Orthopedic Services in Vincennes, IN
At Good Samaritan, our team of orthopedic doctors provides a comprehensive range of personalized care to patients of all ages. Specializing in joint replacements, arthroscopic procedures, and sports medicine, our expert orthopedic doctors have more than 60 combined years of experience. To learn more about our orthopedic services, call us today at 812-882-5220.