How Joints Get Stiff and Ache
Pain or stiffness in a limb can develop at any age and from a variety of causes.
The most common is arthritis. As we get older, the fluid in the joint space decreases and the cartilage that provides cushion may wear away. (3) Osteoarthritis can develop, leading to stiff and painful extremities.
Injuries, whether caused by an accident or repetitive overuse, are another leading cause of arm and leg pain. With proper care, the limb should heal and return to normal. However, healing from these injuries requires effort and dedication to doing the movements that will ensure a full recovery. When that is not achieved, pain in the extremities can become chronic.
Our movement habits play a huge role in our joints’ long-term health. When an arm or leg is not moved regularly through its complete range of motion, the cartilage between the bones will deteriorate. (4) Regular movement is essential to keep the bones, fluid, and cartilage healthy and pain-free.
Two Essential Ways to Care for Your Joints
Move, move and move some more. A sedentary articulation is a deteriorating joint. Getting regular exercise, taking walks, and doing arm and leg circles daily will prevent and address stiffness and pain. If your joint pain is caused by a specific factor such as arthritis or injury, be sure to follow the movement guidelines provided by your doctor or physical therapist. Do your exercises daily!
Preventing inflammation in the body by eating a balanced diet, avoiding too much sugar, and getting adequate sleep can protect and heal your limbs. Foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, walnuts, and flax are part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. (5)
Your Joints Are Your Future Movement
Caring for your joints is caring for your body’s ability to move with freedom and ease. Preventing deterioration and restriction in the joint creates a foundation on which all future movements will depend. And, caring for joints that experience pain or stiffness will keep you moving for life.
Whether it’s a hip or a big toe, the health of each part of the body is critical to all of it.