Lifestyle changes may help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Changes can also help you maintain your normal level of functioning.
Maintaining an appropriate weight can help:
- Improve your symptoms that result from osteoarthritis
- Slow the progression of osteoarthritis
- Reduce osteoarthritic injury to other joints
The heavier you are, the more stress you put on your joints. Consult your doctor before radically changing your diet, however. You may benefit from talking with a registered dietitian. A dietitian will help you achieve an optimal weight while maintaining a healthful, nutritious, varied diet.
Exercise can strengthen your muscles, which can help keep your joints more stable, and the stronger muscles help to absorb energy and protect the joint surface. For example, if you have arthritis in your knee, exercise, including
strength training, can help improve knee function. Participating in a water exercise program is also a good option.
Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. You will need to customize your exercise program to protect the joints that are affected by osteoarthritis. You may be advised to consult an exercise physiologist or physical therapist to help you design a safe exercise plan.
Always contact your doctor if:
- Your symptoms do not improve with the recommended changes
- Your symptoms worsen
- You develop any new symptoms
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Last reviewed September 2011 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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