Why joints hurt after 50 and what you can do about it – Stiff knees, sore hips and swollen hands? If you’re age 50 or older, it could be osteoarthritis. A common wear-and-tear disease that occurs when the cushioning tissue between bones breaks down over time, causing joint pain.
“As we get older, the one item we can’t change is the amount of time we’ve lived with our joints. That’s why at 55, your knees are also 55 years old,” says Dominic King, a sports medicine physician and director of clinical transformation at the Cleveland Clinic Institute of Orthopedics and Rheumatology.
In the Joint States, there are more than 32.5 million adults with osteoarthritis, and the majority are older adults. While there is no way to cure or reverse the disorder. There are some proven ways to prevent it or keep it from getting worse.
Here are five tips for taking care of your joints after age 50.
1. Joints Hurt After 50 – Stay Physically Active
It may seem counterproductive to put more stress and strain on your body, but regular exercise is one of the best ways to treat osteoarthritis and maintain joint health.
One reason is that exercise strengthens the muscles around your joints, which helps relieve pressure. It can also increase the supply of nutrients to cartilage, explains Eric Hume. Associate professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery and director of quality and safety in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Penn Medicine.
Tendon does not receive a blood supply, so “it nourished in the same normal way as all other tissues in the body,” Hume warns. Instead, the cartilage relies on “repetitive motion” to force fluid from the knee joint into its interior. This fluid is “full of sugar and other biochemicals that cartilage needs,” adds Hume. “So repetition of low-impact exercise has a protective effect on the knee.”
There is no single method for all adults over 50 years of age. But if you’re already experiencing some joint pain, low-impact activities like biking, swimming, or walking are likely to be more comfortable than running, for example. Range-of-motion exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, are also helpful. A health care expert can help you select the activities that best fit your needs and offer the most relief from your symptoms.
“The bottom line is that ‘motion is a lubricant,'” according to King. “The more you move, the more likely you are to keep moving. So after the age of 50, the worst thing you can do for osteoarthritis is to lead a sedentary life.”
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
In the United States, nearly 45% of adults ages 40 to 59 are obese, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hume explains that excess weight stresses joints, especially weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips.
“If you have normal-sized ‘tires’ on your knee”—rims are a metaphor Hume uses for the cushioning cartilage between your bones—”but you’re carrying twice the body weight knees are designed to carry. The wear will worsen more quickly”, he warns.
According to a study, losing one pound of body weight reduces the load on the knees by 4 pounds. Additionally, fatty tissue produces proteins that can cause inflammation in and around your joints, which is another reason why losing weight can relieve joint discomfort.
Being underweight can also cause joint problems. Skinny people often don’t have adequate muscle development, and “the cartilage to take all the compression and all the force, particularly when it comes to the knees,” according to King.
This force should be throughout the body. “You have to have good muscle strength, good flexibility, and good core and hip strength to be able to absorb that impact,” he adds.
3. Joints Hurt After 50 – Improve Diet
Weight control goes hand in hand with a healthy diet. Hume gives a particular food or nutrient less priority, explaining that instead, it’s all about portion control, avoiding empty calories, and getting “a good balance of protein.”
Some research shows that a Mediterranean diet —rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fats—is beneficial for people with osteoarthritis. For example, a study of 4,470 participants published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adults with osteoarthritis who faithfully followed a Mediterranean diet more often had less pain. Less disability, and fewer depressive symptoms. Another study found that following a Mediterranean diet was linked to a lower risk of worsening knee pain due to osteoarthritis.
There are numerous supplements for joint pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most widely marketed. Still. There is not enough data to show their effectiveness. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health. The same goes for dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for arthritis.
Because glucosamine and chondroitin can interact with blood thinners (such as warfarin) and interfere with how the body breaks down sugar, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before taking these or any other supplements. DMSO and MSM can also have side effects, such as upset stomach and skin irritation.