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Recent Osteoarthritis Prevention and Coping Advice from Mayo Clinic Experts Touts Exercise, Physical Therapy

World Arthritis Day, October 12, 2013, reminds us of the pain and disability that affects millions of people in the U.S. The most common arthritis type, osteoarthritis, is a debilitating joint condition affecting and estimated 27 million Americans. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent osteoarthritis, as well as enhance your life if you already live with the condition.

To commemorate the day, two Mayo Clinic experts, Dr. Shrevasee Amin and Aaron Krych, offer powerful osteoarthritis prevention and coping strategies.

In the prevention category, the doctors say being overweight or obese puts an unnecessary load on the joints, increasing osteoarthritis risk. The solution: achieve a healthy weight.

“Every pound lost can result in up to a 4-pound reduction in the load on the knee,” Dr. Amin says.

Other prevention tips:

Exercise to strengthen muscles around joints and preserve your range of motion.

Maintain overall fitness, including muscle strength and flexibility, through low-impact aerobic exercises, such as bicycling and water exercises.

To better cope with osteoarthritis, keep moving. Focus on exercises that don’t put a lot of stress and strain on the joints, such as walking, water exercises, tai chi and yoga.

“It could be good to meet with a physical therapist to get a tailored exercise program,” Dr. Amin says. “If you’re able to do exercises that you enjoy, you’re more likely to do them.”

Avoid activities or modify your approach to activities that are joint unfriendly. For example, use proper lifting techniques if you have to lift heavy items. That will help not only your back but also your knees. Things to remember: lift with your legs, not your back. Bend at the knees; never at the waist. Position feet shoulder-width apart, and stand as close as possible to the object you’re lifting. Contract your abdominal muscles and breathe out when you lift, to support your back. Hold the object close to your body as you lift. Don’t twist or bend while lifting a heavy object.

Physical therapists are the exercise experts. For more information about how physical therapists help people of all ages and fitness levels to build strength, endurance, balance and flexibility, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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