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You're Never Too Young to Take Care of Your Joints


July 08, 2022 Posted in: Health & Wellness , Orthopedic Care  2 minute read time

Joint care isn’t something only older people need to think about. Young men and women, particularly those who are athletic, should protect their joints now to help avoid problems later.

“People are more active today than they’ve ever been, and sports are bigger than they’ve ever been,” said Mark Duber, DO, chief of orthopedic surgery at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Orthopedics in Bardstown and Lebanon. “But a lot of injuries can happen from playing too hard while younger, which can turn into a situation that requires something like a knee replacement down the road when you’re older.”

Prevention Is the Best Pain Relief

Sometimes injuries are not preventable, but working out properly can make a big difference.

“We have multiple programs to help decrease the risk of ACL tears in the knees,” Dr. Duber said. “That entails therapy programs to improve the biodynamics of jumping so that when we jump and we come down, we’re coming down in a more biomechanically sound fashion.”

Combining low-impact exercise and strength training also helps build up muscles and increase flexibility, which protect your joints.

“Weight-bearing activity is good for bones and joints, and so is maintaining a healthy weight,” said Adam Franson, DO, orthopedic surgeon at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Orthopedics in London and Somerset.

“If an injury does occur, we have very modern surgical and nonsurgical ways to help patients improve and get them back into the game, but there’s nothing better than prevention,” Dr. Duber said. “I highly recommend that people work with a physical therapist or a personal trainer at a well-reviewed gym to help set up a training program that works for their body to prevent injuries.”

When to See a Doctor

Experiencing some temporary discomfort while working out is normal. But if you’re having pain that affects your ability to engage in daily activities, talk to a doctor.

“Pain, instability and swelling are worrisome when they linger for a long time,” Dr. Franson said. “But there are many nonsurgical options to consider before assuming surgery is your only option.”

Symptoms to watch out for include:         

  • Joint instability          
  • Pain that goes beyond normal muscle soreness          
  • Pain when squatting or using the stairs          
  • Swelling

“Always listen to your body,” Dr. Duber said. “If your pain doesn’t improve after limiting activity or taking anti-inflammatory medications, you should see a doctor to prevent further injury in the future.”


A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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