You may think arthritis is just a part of life that you must endure as you get older. And while there’s no magic bullet that will prevent painful arthritis, you can take steps to reduce your risk and/or delay its onset.

Who Is at Risk for Arthritis?

In truth, orthopedic surgeons don’t completely understand who will get arthritis and who won’t. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and similar conditions. Since each has its own arthritisset of risk factors, symptoms and causes, it’s difficult to make a comprehensive list of who is at risk. And, scientists believe viruses or environmental toxins can also lead to arthritis but the exact trigger can’t always be identified.

However, some people do seem to be at greater risk for developing certain types of arthritis. For example, women who have a family history of arthritis are more likely to develop some types of arthritis. And unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to mitigate a genetic risk.

Risk Factors You Can Control

On the other hand, some risk factors can be addressed through lifestyle modifications. Here are some things to do:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts extra strain on your joints and causes cartilage to break down quicker.
  • Refrain from smoking.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water. The cartilage in your joint is primarily made of water, and if you’re dehydrated, your cartilage can be damaged easier.
  • Eat healthy foods that are rich in fiber and whole grains while limiting simple carbohydrates and fat.
  • Avoid sugar, alcohol and the purines found in red meat, poultry and oily fish.
  • Avoid sports injuries by using the proper equipment, training and safe play.
  • Use proper body mechanics. Lift with your legs instead of you back and maintain proper posture.
  • Don’t wear high heels all the time. They put your feet at an awkward position and can cause problems later in life.
  • Avoid sodas as research shows excessive consumption can increase the risk of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you are experiencing pain from arthritis, physical therapy can help you stay mobile for longer. Contact our office for an appointment and our talented Jacksonville physical therapy team will evaluate your needs and determine how your arthritis pain can be alleviated.

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