Feeling your joints ache, throb, creak or send sharp, shooting pains through your legs is disheartening. When this happens regularly, the thought of regular exercise can be the last thing you feel like doing - and it can’t be good for your painful joints - right?
Actually, that’s not the case at all. The benefits of exercise during joint pain that isn’t caused by an ‘acute’ injury (meaning a new or recent injury that happened suddenly as opposed to developing over time) are well documented - and the research to back its benefits keeps growing in 2021.
In fact, exercise is the reason that many people are able to stay mobile and independent for as long as they do, even if they have arthritis, longstanding overuse injuries or haven’t been active for some time. Today we’re sharing exactly how and why exercise may be your not-so-secret weapon to getting back on your feet and resuming an active lifestyle.
Exercise Prevents Muscle & Joint Weakness
When you don’t use your muscles, they weaken. As our muscles support healthy and strong joints, our joints grow weaker too, and so can’t function as well. Regular exercise works our muscles, tendons and ligaments, thereby preventing them from weakening due to inactivity.
Exercise Builds Strength
Building on from the last point, the more we exercise (and it doesn’t have to be strenuous!), the stronger we grow. Strong muscles means strong joints which work better and are less likely to become injured from trying to function without adequate muscle strength. This helps protect our joint health not just now, but for the years to come.
Take knee pain for example. If you have weak glutes and hip muscles, it can create a muscle imbalance and alter the position of your knee when walking. This suboptimal position then makes you vulnerable to pain and injuries like patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee).
Exercise Helps Your Joints Move Smoothly & Painlessly
Our joints contain synovial fluid, a substance comparable to the oil in an engine, helping all the parts transition smoothly as our joints move, without rubbing against each other or causing pain. When we exercise, the production of the synovial fluid is boosted, which helps us reduce joint pain and improve our comfort as we move.
Exercise Improves Circulation
Exercise gets our blood pumping and so boosts our circulation - and our joints very much reap these benefits. Our joints maintain a healthy supply of nutrients and oxygen from the blood, so they can keep working at their best, reducing joint pain.
Exercise Helps Build Strong Joint Cartilage
Research shows that exercise can help reinforce the cartilage in our joints. Cartilage covers the ends of our bones, offering them protection. Unfortunately, it also has a limited capacity for repairing itself. As cartilage gets its nutrients from the synovial fluid (above), this promotes more nutrients to enter the fluid and be forced into the cartilage to help keep cartilage strong and healthy.
Exercise Helps Clear The Waste From Your Body
When you exercise, as part of energy production, your body breaks down some cellular “junk” and then removes it, like a form of cellular garbage disposal. The result is unwanted waste removed from the body.
Exercise Really Can Be The Best Medicine...
… but it can be hard to exercise if you have a pain or injury that’s stopping you from doing so. If that’s the case, we’re here to help. We have a team of passionate, experienced podiatrists that are dedicated to getting you back to living without pain, so you can do the things you love.
Book your appointment with our podiatrists in Kingaroy by calling us on 07 4162 7633.