Over the next seven days, October 12-20, America celebrates Bone and Joint National Action Week.
Bone and joint pain can be caused by a variety of issues. Injuries like sprains, muscle tears, and fractures can cause a person discomfort. These injuries can be due to wear and tear as a result of a physical injury, strenuous labor, or from repetitive motions and conditions that are degenerative, such as arthritis.
Focusing on a healthy balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables is a good way to maintain bone and joint health in all stages of life. Joint pain may also be improved with weight management, as excess weight can add to the burden that is placed on joints.
Krystal Dishon, MPP-D, RD, LD a Clinical Dietitian with Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, exercise is an important part of bone and joint health as it increases muscle tone and strength, and also can correct form, flexibility and may help prevent future injuries as well.
“Protein, calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D and K are essential to bone structure and function,” Dishon said. “The main cause of bone and joint pain is actually many factors, including inflammation, obesity, injury, smoking, excess alcohol and caffeine intake, inadequate calcium or vitamin D, and lack of exercise. Following an anti-inflammatory diet, such as meals with fatty fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and olive oil can help to prevent bone and joint injury. People should consume adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D and avoid excessive alcohol intake if possible.”
Bone and joint disease comes in many forms, such as Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Gout, and Fibromyalgia, Dishon said. Vitamins and supplements that can help both bone and joint health include vitamin D, omega-3, and calcium. Foods and substances that should be avoided if someone has a bone or joint issue includes caffeine and sodas, a high sodium diet, omega 6 rich foods such as corn, soybeans, sunflower oil, and safflower oil, as well as saturated and trans fats which include vegetable oil, animal fat, white bread, pasta, rice, onions and potatoes.
“Foods that are best for bone and joint health include ones high in anti-inflammatory properties,” Dishon said. “These foods include berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, dark leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Foods high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and collagen-rich foods are also vital to maintaining joint health.”
Bone and joint pain can occur in almost any area of the body. Symptoms that may require a person to seek treatment from a physician include foot, ankle, knee or hip pain while walking, hand wrist or elbow pain that make it impossible to carry objects, and shoulder pain that limits the mobility of a person’s arm and may cause swelling or bruising.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit https://emhealth.org/find-a-provider/?_specialties=family-medicine.