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Osteoarthritis prevention

Osteoarthritis can be a painful condition affecting the joints. In some cases, a person affected by osteoarthritis may need a hip or knee replacement operation.

Osteoarthritis is not an inevitable part of getting older. Here are steps you can take to help prevent osteoarthritis or its progression.

Manage weight

Being overweight puts a strain on the joints, particularly those that bear the body's weight such as the knees, hips and joints of the feet, causing the cartilage to wear away. If a person is overweight, losing some excess pounds can help reduce their osteoarthritis risk. If they already have osteoarthritis, losing weight may help improve symptoms.

Look after joints

Regular exercise helps with joint health, but chose exercise that won’t place too much stress on the hips, knees and hand joints. Swimming and cycling give the body a workout while the joints are more supported. Posture is also important while sitting and standing.

Avoid injuries

Suffering a joint injury when you are young predisposes you to osteoarthritis in the same joint when you are older. Injuring a joint as an adult may put the joint at even greater risk. A long-term US study found that those who injured a knee in adolescence or young adulthood were three times more likely to develop osteoarthritis in that knee than those who had not suffered an injury. Those who injured the knee as an adult had a five times greater risk of osteoarthritis in the joint.

Eat well

Although no specific diet, food or supplement has been conclusively shown to prevent osteoarthritis, healthy eating helps to maintain an ideal weight, which is better for the joints.

Your joints and body as a whole also need a range of nutrients from a balanced diet. The charity Arthritis Care says studies on essential fatty acids found in oily fish suggest that they may help ease joint pain and stiffness.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 10, 2017

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