Can You Prevent Osteoarthritis?


During the month of October, we recognize World Arthritis Day. At Goldsmith Podiatry we take this opportunity to pose an important question to our patients. Do you think you can prevent osteoarthritis? Although the term arthritis refers to nearly 100 different joint disorders, osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint disease. It is sometimes called “wear and tear arthritis” and most often affects senior adults as cartilage degenerates with age and joints start to show signs of wear. But, is it an inevitable fact of old age? 

The answer is a resounding “NO!” Although some risk factors—inherited tendencies, age, sex—cannot be altered, there are plenty of other factors that you do have control over. Below are some ways to keep joints healthy now and as you age:

Maintain an appropriate weight—carrying excess weight increases the stress and strain on joints, particularly those of the lower extremities. If you weigh more than you should, take steps now to lose the excess weight. Some simple suggestions include:

  • Use smaller plates—this will automatically reduce your portion sizes.

  • Cook more meals at home—you can best control ingredients, including hidden fats and sugars when making your own meals from scratch.

  • Make healthy substitutions—frozen yogurt for ice cream, hummus for a sour cream dip, veggies for dipper instead of chips.

Get a move on—one of the best ways to keep joints healthy and preserve a good range of motion is by being active. A variety of exercise—weight bearing, aerobic, strength training—are all beneficial to joints. Ways to add more activity include:

  • Choose family outings that involve physical activity—bike rides, hiking, rollerblading, ice skating, even simply taking a walk after dinner are all great ways to spend time together, get exercise, and foster an active lifestyle.

  • Instead of looking for the parking space closest to the store, pick one that’s further away and get a few more steps in.

  • Walk while you talk on the phone.

Strive for a healthy lifestyle—in addition to a nutritious diet and regular exercise, an overall healthy lifestyle will protect your joints (as well as the rest of your body). Important factors would include:

  • Don’t smoke

  • Drink alcohol and caffeine only in moderation

  • Get regular checkups and don’t ignore unusual symptoms

If you have foot or ankle discomfort, contact our New York City office and let our podiatrists, Dr. Howard Goldsmith or Dr. Rosanna Troia evaluate your problem sooner rather than later. Call us today for an appointment at 212-877-1002.