10 Tips for Bone and Joint Health
Perspectives met with James Raphael, MD, chairman of Einstein Orthopedics, to learn how we can all take better care of our bones and joints.
- Calcium makes bones strong and joints supple. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese; dark, leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and kale; salmon, sardines, whitebait and other fish; figs; almonds; and edamame. People with lactose intolerance can choose enriched soy milk or almond milk.
Vitamin D helps your bones absorb calcium. The body manufactures vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure three times a week is enough to produce the amount of vitamin D your body needs.
- Boost your bone strength with weight-bearing exercises such as running, jogging, aerobics, stair-climbing, dancing, tennis and basketball. If you suffer from joint pain, opt for low-impact exercises such as swimming or bicycling.
- It’s normal to have some aching muscles following exercise. But if the pain lasts for more than 48 hours, you might have overstressed your joints, which can lead to injury or damage. Don’t push so hard next time.
- Maintain a healthy body weight to protect weight-bearing joints such as your knees, hips and back. Every pound you lose takes four pounds of pressure off your knees.
- Couch potatoes, computer addicts and those who remain glued to a chair all day long are at higher risk for joint pain and stiffness. Move more by frequently changing positions, stretching, taking breaks or short walks, or standing during phone calls.
- Posture matters. Standing and sitting up straight protect your joints from your neck down to your knees.
- Take care when lifting and carrying. Carry bags on your shoulders or arms instead of with your hands to let your bigger muscles and joints support the weight. And hold those items close to your body.
- Proper footwear is important for bone and joint health. Women who often wear high heels have a seven to 10 times greater chance of developing joint pain and problems. Vary your heel height.
- Ask your doctor about measuring your bone mineral density with a simple X-ray test called DEXA to help determine your risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Learn more about keeping your bones and joints healthy from the experts at Einstein Orthopedics. Visit Einstein.edu/orthopedics, or call 1-800-EINSTEIN to schedule an appointment with a specialist.