By Dr. John C. Kagan, M.D.
As we enter the New Year, we are faced with developing and upholding our New Year’s resolutions. With a variety of opportunities to improve our lives with this year-long resolution, why not make it count by committing to keeping our bodies happy and healthy for many years to come? For individuals who have or are at risk for developing osteoarthritis, caring for your body is the best New Year’s resolution you can make. Simply implementing a few preventative measures can positively influence symptoms of osteoarthritis, and help your body perform at its best. Not only will these lifestyle changes positively affect the health of your joints, but they will improve your overall health as well!
As we begin a new year, exercise is essential to maintaining the health of our bodies, especially as we work to shed those pesky pounds that may have developed during the holiday season. Certain lifestyle modifications are necessary to accommodate your symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as forgoing high-impact activities, and instead implementing a greater amount of low-
impact exercises into your regular routine. Gentle stretching, a walk around the block, swimming a few laps in the pool or taking a ride on your bicycle can dramatically improve your range of motion, flexibility and endurance. Strengthening exercises can also help you better manage your osteoarthritis by strengthening your muscles, which in turn provides additional support and protection for your affected joints.
In addition to maintaining a healthy exercise routine, the food that you put into your body can also play a role in your management of joint pain. Not only is a healthy weight advantageous for your body in the big picture, but carrying the appropriate amount of weight also reduces the amount of pressure on your joints, helping to prevent additional wear and tear on your joints. Eating certain foods can also help reduce inflammation in your joints and put your body at ease. Consider incorporating moisture-filled foods, leafy greens and other foods into your diet, such as cherries, broccoli, watermelon, fish, carrots, citrus and strawberries.
See Your Doctor
What better way to manage symptoms of osteoarthritis than by consulting a professional? Regular visits to your doctor enables you to stay up-to-date on the health of your body, and allows your doctor to monitor any changes in your health. The best course of action is to prevent or limit the occurrence of joint pain, and a qualified medical professional can help you determine a plan that will make the most out of your New Year’s resolution. Although osteoarthritis cannot be cured, regular trips to the doctor can facilitate early identification of arthritis symptoms so that you can begin treatment that will help to slow the development of your symptoms, reduce pain and even restore function in your joints.
It is time to not only ring in the New Year, but also to embrace our commitment to making healthy lifestyle changes in 2016. Your decision can make all of the difference in improving the overall health of your body. Don’t miss your opportunity to commit to making your body the best it can be.
Before starting a new fitness routine, consult an orthopedic surgeon who can help design a fitness routine to promote wellness, minimize the chance of injury and reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Dr. John C. Kagan and his staff are ready to answer all of your questions. Dr. Kagan has more than 30 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist treating patients in Southwest Florida. He specializes in treating patients with knee, shoulder and hip pain, as well as general orthopedics and hand surgery. For more information, visit www.kaganortho.com or call 239-936-6778.