As your physical therapist may have told you, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are often more interconnected than you might have thought. As cartilage deteriorates, the adjoining bone can become affected as well. This makes calcium more important than ever to support bone health for those suffering from deteriorating surrounding joints.
Why Calcium Matters
To prevent injuries and pain associated with overuse and with aging, strong bones are crucial. Calcium is the number one nutrient that helps preventing thinning bones.
The nutrient also keeps nerves and muscles functioning properly. All of these systems will aid you if you begin physical therapy for osteoarthritis.
How to Add Calcium
Adult men and women need about 1,000 mg of calcium every day, up until the age of 50 for women and 70 for men. At those ages, intake should increase to about 1200 mg.
Among the foods highest in calcium are yogurt, milk and cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar. If you’re vegan, look for soy or almond milk and yogurt, as well as tofu-based cheeses and spreads.
Other foods rich in calcium include salmon, sardines, and dark leafy vegetables, along with fortified orange juice and cereal. (As a bonus, fatty fish rich in calcium also happen to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps with joint issues.)
If you’re not sure if you’re getting enough calcium and there is no package label to refer to, consult an online calcium calculator.
Don’t Forget “Vitamin PT”!
Physical therapy helps patients cope with the pain and loss of mobility of osteoarthritis, and often prevents the need for surgery. Look for a physical therapist who has has experience treating the condition. In addition, ask about how to support your entire musculoskeletal system, in order to keep yourself as active as possible.
When it comes to osteoarthritis, physical therapy can be designed to decrease your specific pain and mobility issues, depending on where your joints are most affected. If your knee is impacted by osteoarthritis, for example, bracing may be part of the physical therapist’s recommendations.
Physical therapy for osteoarthritis also includes manual therapy, in which the practitioner moves your joints and muscles in specially-targeted ways. This approach has been proven to make muscles and joints stronger and more flexible.
Aerobic activity often helps prevent the progression of osteoarthritis. Even though patients usually do these workouts on their own, physical therapists are useful in developing aerobic programs that avoid joint stress, while at the same time increasing overall health.
Contact Walker Physical Therapy today and speak with our experts!