How Can You Prevent Joint Injuries?
Accidents are always a possibility, but there are some things you can do to strengthen your joints and prevent injury.
For athletes or active people with particular hobbies like hiking or cycling, it's a matter of knowing the most common joint injuries that happen in their chosen sports and activities. Once you know the risks, you can work on specific injury prevention.
For example, soccer players can do a zigzag drill with cones. This helps them safely practice quick bursts of speed. It also strengthens the knees and ankles.
Even non-athletes should think about injury prevention activities. For example, a simple balance activity like standing on one leg for 30 seconds can strengthen your ankle joint. The more stable your ankle is, the less likely you are to twist or roll it.
Why Do Healthy Joints Matter?
The most obvious reason is that joint injuries can be painful and keep you from doing what you love.
When you injure the muscles and ligaments around your joints, they can weaken. Over time, if they don't get stronger, they have a harder time holding your joint in place.
The name for this is joint instability. You're more likely to re-injure yourself if your joints are unstable.
Osteoarthritis is another long-term side effect of weakened and injured joints. This is a type of arthritis that happens when the cartilage between your joints starts to break down. It causes pain and makes movement difficult.
If you do sustain a joint injury, make sure to talk to your GP, physiotherapist or orthopaedic consultant about treatment options to help you recover. Rehabilitating an injury the right way can help prevent issues like joint instability and osteoarthritis in the future.
Your joints work hard for you. But they're vulnerable. Keep active, stay healthy, and never take them for granted.
Find out more about treatment options for joint injuries at UPMC Sports Medicine Clinics.