A joint is the place where two or more bones meet. New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer often gets questions from his patients regarding whether or not exercise is good for their joints.
The more complicated answer is that yes, certain types of exercise can put extra pressure on the joints. For example, jogging on hard surfaces causes the bones of the pelvis, hip and knee to pound against each other and sometimes damages the joints.
Conversely, even walking can put extra pressure on some joints such as the spine, hip and knee. Yet your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon finds that most people don’t develop serious arthritis from walking because muscles around a joint prevent it from being injured by keeping the bones from pounding on each other. Regular exercise strengthens those muscles, which in turn protects the joints.
Our joints are similar to car tires. The more you drive, the quicker they’ll need to be replaced. Regular exercise that doesn’t cause bone to rub against bone is clearly beneficial because it strengthens the muscles.
Even considering regular exercise that does cause bone on bone contact – like jogging on hard surfaces – for most people the muscle-strengthening efforts outweigh the bone-on-bone effects.
Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon recently consulted with a patient who jogged pretty much every day for 35 years, until her right hip joint wore out. Her hipbone was rubbing against her thighbone, causing pain, yet her left hip was completely normal. Dr. Meyer performed a right hip replacement, and the pain has never returned.
He also advises his patients who come from a family that has a history of osteoarthritis to choose regular exercise that reduces the striking of bone on bone such as using an elliptical cross-trainer.
Protect yourself against getting osteoarthritis – if you are obese, lose weight – if you have injured a joint, be especially careful about activities that stress that joint or the muscles that protect it.
Bottom line: Moving is better than not moving – for your joints and for your overall health. If you are experiencing pain in any of your joints – don’t hesitate – call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule an appointment. You don’t have to live in pain!