With June being Men’s Health Month, the focus is on encouraging men to live healthier, happier lives. So, Men - How healthy are you? To a large extent, the condition of your bones and joints determines your level of physical fitness. Therefore, you need to ensure the major joints like the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders are in good condition.
The knee is the most frequently injured joints in the human body. Excessive force when pivoting or twisting the knee can result in a meniscus tear, a very common knee injury. The hip joint is one of the strongest joints in the human body, however it is not indestructible and is commonly affected by arthritis. The shoulder joint is prone to rotator cuff tears and impingement problems with frequent overhead activity.
Here are some tips to safeguard your joints from injury:
Improve muscle strength:
Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles help stabilize and protect your shoulder, ankle, hip and knee joints.
Always warm-up before vigorous physical activity:
Light bodyweight exercises will increase blood flow to stiff joints allowing them to better handle the stresses without getting damaged.
Work on flexibility:
Static and dynamic stretches when performed after exercises will maintain joint mobility and help you stay limber.
Avoid too much high-impact activity:
High-impact cardio or plyometric exercises may be good for improving soft-twitch muscles which enable powerful bursts of activity, but when performed too often can harm your joints. Try to vary your workouts by performing low-impact workouts on some days like swimming, water aerobics, or cycling to give your joints adequate time to recover.
Use protective gear:
Use the right kind of shoes, knee guards, hip guards, pads and other protective gear. They should fit snugly to absorb the shock of impact and protect your joints.
Research studies indicate men are less likely to see a doctor for a health problem as compared to women. If you do have a bone and joint condition that does not seem to be getting better with conservative care, visit your doctor or an orthopedic specialist for evaluation and treatment. Remember, the sooner you are evaluated and treated, the higher the chances of a positive outcome.
Ensuring your joints are in the best possible condition is key to helping you stay fighting fit and healthy.
Dr. Ronak Patel is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon offering a full range of care for all problems of the knee and shoulder with a special interest in complex knee disorders. Book your appointment with Dr. Patel today: (630) 929-2249.