May is National Arthritis Awareness Month and here at North Jersey Podiatry we want patients to know that it’s never too early or too late to take steps to protect your joints and prevent arthritis. Arthritis is an umbrella term that covers over 100 different joint diseases. The do’s and don’ts below can help you start now to improve joint health:

Do: learn the symptoms of arthritis. Although most people think of joint pain as the prime symptom of arthritis, there are other, less obvious symptoms that may occur first. Swelling, stiffness, redness or heat in a joint, skin rashes or growths, and limited range of motion may point to arthritis.

Don’t: wait to get joint discomfort evaluated. Untreated arthritis can lead to the destruction of cartilage and bone damage which may not be reversible. That’s why it’s important to report any of the above symptoms to our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, as soon as possible after you’ve noticed them. The foot doctor will ask about your family medical history, examine your feet and may order x-rays or other imaging studies to evaluate the condition of your joints.

Do: maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you are carrying excess pounds. Extra weight puts extra strain on joints, particularly those in the lower extremities.

Do: take appropriate precautions when playing sports, driving and working. Why? Arthritis tends to develop in joints where there was a previous injury. Being safe now can prevent joint pain later.

Don’t: neglect the role that food plays in inflammation. Fried, processed foods, and sugars can all raise the inflammatory response in the body. There are also foods that can decrease inflammation. These include fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines), whole grains, dark, leafy greens, nuts, and soy.

Do: put regular dates on your calendar for exercise. Did you know that exercise is the most effective non-medical treatment for osteoarthritis? There are three kinds of exercise that can decrease pain and increase mobility due to arthritis: flexibility, aerobic and strengthening,

If you have concerns about joint symptoms you are experiencing or have questions about your risk for getting arthritis, contact our Wayne, New Jersey office today by calling: (973) 595-1555.