Preventing Osteoarthritis

Some risk factors for osteoarthritis are modifiable. Prevention of osteoarthritis should focus on risk factors one can control, such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding occupational hazards that stress the joints. Occupations involving heavy physical work, especially prolonged kneeling and squatting, have approximately twice the risk of knee osteoarthritis1.

Lifestyle

Active lifestyles will not only help to maintain a healthy weight but can also keep the muscle around the joints strong.  Even a small amount of weight gain can put enough added stress on the joints to make osteoarthritis symptoms worse.

Protect your joints while performing simple daily tasks. Avoid prolonged kneeling, squatting and gripping. Use proper body mechanics to avoid putting excess strain on joints. Avoid high heeled shoes.

Vitamin supplements

Research has shown that people with low levels of vitamin C and D had a much faster progression of their existing osteoarthritis2. One study showed that Vitamin C supplementation may prevent osteoarthritis but did not reveal that it was an effective treatment for those who already had osteoarthritis3.

Nutrition

Foods rich in vitamin C include, but are not limited to peppers, guava, fresh thyme and parsley, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kiwi, papayas, oranges and strawberries.

Good sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, cooked salmon, cooked mackerel, canned tuna, fortified milk, beef liver, sardines, egg yolk, and sunlight. Read more about nutrition.

References

1. Creamer P, (2006) Management of Osteoarthritis. In: Arden N, Cooper C (eds) Osteoarthritis Handbook, Taylor & Francis, London, pp 185-204
2. Klippel JH, Stone JH, Crofford L, White PH, (2008) Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases, 13th edn. Springer and Arthritis Foundation, New York
3. Peregoy J, Wilder FV, (2011) The effects of vitamin C supplementation on incident and progressive knee osteoarthritis: a longitudinal study. Public Health Nutrition Apr, 14(4):709-15