How to manage and prevent joint pain whilst exercising - Emily Skye

How to manage and prevent joint pain whilst exercising

How to manage and prevent joint pain whilst exercising

Experiencing joint pain, whether it be your knee, ankle, elbow, shoulder or wrist, is more common than some might think. The cause of the pain can be many things, such as an old or recent injury, arthritis, muscle weakness, or it can be an indication of infection or other illness.

The first thing you should do is rule out an infection or illness that might prevent you from placing pressure on that joint, Once you have done that and have got the all clear from your health professional to proceed with exercise with caution, here are 8 tips that can help you manage your joint pain:

  • Work your warm-up - People all too often rush or skip their warm up. However, if you suffer from joint pain then you have even more reason than most to really focus on warming up of your muscles and ligaments. Joints hurt even more if you start to apply pressure to them when your muscles and ligaments are tight and ‘cold’. So make sure you warm up the muscles associated with the joint you have problems with (as well as the other areas you might be focusing on in your workout!). It doesn’t have to be hours, a simple 5 minutes will do, just as long as you apply some light movement to those areas to loosen them up and get the blood flowing there.
     
  • Mix it up - Keep your exercise and workouts varied. Continuing to do the same type of exercise over and over will apply more pressure to specific areas. So mix it up and make sure you have rest days, especially for your problem areas.
     
  • Choose wisely - Obviously, some exercises are just going to be a better choice that others. If you have knee problems, then exercises such as sprinting, or lunging, might apply too much pressure on your joints. So opt for exercises that work the areas you want, yet take into account your sensitivity. For example cycling or pilates.
     
  • Easy does it - Don’t over do the area you struggle with. Sure, you might want to build strength in the muscles that support the joint, however overdoing it will only add more pressure and likely cause more pain.
     
  • Foam rolling - Foam rolling is a form of massage that can really get in and release tension from the muscles in and around your joint.
     
  • Use supports, braces and wraps - Sometimes using protective gear is advised with specific joint complaints, to help support them, reduce inflammation and prevent pain. The type or protective brace you might need would depend on your joint and what has caused the pain in the first place, so talk to your healthcare professional about the best course of action.
     
  • Supplementing - Different supplements are used to address different issues in relation to joint health, so what you might need will depend on your condition. Glucosamine is a common supplement that is used for joint health and reducing pain and is commonly used for people with knee complaints, however, this is again something your should talk to your healthcare professional about to discuss what is most suitable for you.
     
  • Work your warm-down - Warming down is also another consideration that people often neglect. If you suffer from joint pain however, you have even more reason to make sure that you warm down the muscles and ligaments associated with the joint you have problems with. Tight muscles will minimise your normal range of movement which can place added stress on your joints, so incorporate some light stretching at the end of your workouts. 

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