How to Prevent Osteoarthritis: Tips and Recommendations

Many people ask themselves how they can prevent osteoarthritis. Today, we'll give you some tips and recommendations that you can follow.
How to Prevent Osteoarthritis: Tips and Recommendations

Last update: 10 April, 2023

Osteoarticular diseases are usually associated with the elderly, however, they can also appear in young people, although less frequently. In this regard, one of the tasks that we should focus on the most is knowing how to prevent osteoarthritis, as it affects a large number of patients.

According to data from the International Osteoarthritis Organization, there are 300 million people affected around the world, this disease being the most frequent cause of permanent work disability. Despite its prevalence, it’s a disease unknown to the general population.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative osteoarticular disease that can affect one or more joints. It’s characterized by presenting wear on the articular cartilage, which causes great pain.

Under normal conditions, articular cartilage covers both portions of the bone and allows them to slide over each other without problems. When it suffers damage and wears out, there will be bone-to-bone rubbing, making joint movement difficult and painful.

Unfortunately, this particular disease can affect other joint components and is often accompanied by other problems that make it worse. Despite its ability to affect any joint, it’s more common to find it in the knee and hip.

A man falls due to knee pain.
Osteoarthritis is usually centered in the knee and affects daily activities, being quite disabling.

Symptoms of the disease

The recommended measures to prevent osteoarthritis can be started even before the first symptoms appear, as these are usually progressive and prolonged over time. Of all the symptoms presented by these patients, the most characteristic condition is joint pain.

Initially, the pain may be sporadic and appear with the movement of the affected joint, subsiding with the stoppage of activity. However, as the months go by, it will appear in more situations and it won’t go away with rest.

Among the other symptoms that people with osteoarthritis present, the following stand out:

  • Morning joint stiffness for less than 30 minutes
  • Inflammation in the affected joint
  • Crunching sensation or joint rubbing during movement

Causes of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial disease, so various situations can favor its appearance. The vast majority are related to lifestyle, among which the following stand out:

  • Sedentary lifestyle and excess weight
  • Repeated trauma to the joints
  • Sports practice at a professional level
  • Inadequate intake of nutrients that weakens cartilage

On the other hand, studies have shown that genetics play an important role in some types of osteoarthritis. In this way, mutations have been found in various genes that predispose individuals to suffer from the disease, although the intrinsic mechanisms are unknown.

Various groups of people have also been found to be more prone to osteoarthritis. According to the sources consulted, 2 out of 3 people who have it are women. In addition, more than 70% of people over 70 years of age in Spain show radiological signs of osteoarthritis.

How to prevent osteoarthritis?

Being such a lifestyle-related disease, many of the strategies to prevent osteoarthritis are linked to good habits. In this regard, some simple modifications can have a great influence on the state of health.

Lose weight

Obesity is associated with various diseases, including osteoarthritis. In fact, according to studies, 30.3% of obese people have knee problems. Therefore, reducing body weight is one of the best ways to prevent osteoarthritis and its symptoms.

Losing weight even helps those people who’ve been diagnosed with the disease, as it’ll reduce the pressure exerted on the joint and reduce pain.

Maintain a balanced diet

Having an adequate intake of food is very useful when seeking to prevent osteoarthritis, as it not only helps to reduce weight but also maintains optimal levels of nutrients in the body. In this way, the body will have an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals to carry out bone and cartilage repair.

Perform light and moderate physical exercises

Constant physical activity helps keep the whole body in good condition. However, it’s important to be vigilant and not put great pressure on the muscles and joints to avoid injury. In this regard, light and moderate physical activity will be ideal to prevent osteoarthritis.

There’s evidence to prove that moderate exercises don’t affect the knee or hip joint, but rather help maintain joint health. However, if sports are practiced professionally, it’s best to carry out constant medical check-ups.

A man running on a treadmill.
Losing weight and doing it with moderate physical activity would be an ideal combination to prevent osteoarthritis.

Wear appropriate footwear

Tight-fitting shoes and heels often put a lot of stress on the ankle, knee, and hip joints, so constant use can weaken them. Therefore, a very simple way to prevent osteoarthritis is to avoid the daily use of this type of footwear.

It’s important to use shoes that give stability and cushion the footsteps when walking. This will help to maintain correct posture and prevent the appearance of other diseases.

Prevent osteoarthritis from an early age

Despite being a disease associated with the elderly, the appearance of its symptoms at an early age can be prevented. In this regard, if the previous recommendations are applied early on, the appearance of the disease can be delayed and even prevented from appearing.

Sometimes this joint condition may be imminent, however, the same measures that we’ve suggested can be used to reduce the impact of the signs.

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Los contenidos de esta publicación se redactan solo con fines informativos. En ningún momento pueden servir para facilitar o sustituir diagnósticos, tratamientos o recomentaciones provenientes de un profesional. Consulta con tu especialista de confianza ante cualquier duda y busca su aprobación antes de iniciar o someterse a cualquier procedimiento.