Eight Ways You May Be Injuring Your Joints, Pt. 1

There are many different kinds of ways we can cause injury to our joints. Here are eight of them.

  1. Being overweight. Your joints are extremely sensitive to heavy loads. In fact, every pound on your body can put up to four pounds of stress on your knees. This causes strain to your back, hips, and feet, creating wear and tear that leads to damage, aches, and pain. Being overweight also causes inflammation, which can make all joints stiff, painful, and swollen.
  2. Excessive texting. Your tendons can become irritated and your thumb can become locked in a curled position due to too much texting. Constantly looking down at your phone is bad for your neck and shoulders; with every inch, your head drops forward, the load on your muscles raises. If your neck is bent to the point of your chin touching your chest, it is the same strain as if your neck was supporting five heads instead of one.
  3. Wearing high heels. The higher the heel, the more your weight will tip forward. This means your thigh muscles will have to work harder to keep your knees straight; this can create pain in the body. If you wear heels every day, you increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis, which is when the bones and the cushioning between the bones start to deteriorate.
  4. Wearing the wrong shoes. If your shoes are old and worn out, chances are they aren’t supporting your feet and ankles the way proper shoes should. This will throw your knees, hips, and back off balance. If playing a sport, make sure you have on the proper shoes. High tops are great for basketball, as they can help protect the ankles from a sprain. However, be careful not to wear a pair with too much cushion or arch support – this can inhibit your foot from moving naturally, creating pain.
  5. Cracking your knuckles. The popping sound that comes from cracking knuckles is either tiny bubbles bursting in the fluid around the joints or ligaments snapping against bone. While it doesn’t cause arthritis-like some may claim, it still isn’t the best idea to do this frequently. Excessive cracking of knuckles can cause your hands to swell as well as create a weakened grip.
  6. Carrying a heavy bag. It could be a purse, a backpack, or a messenger bag – if it’s too heavy, it will cause neck and shoulder pain. Applying heavy weight onto one shoulder can throw off your balance and the way you walk. If you carry things on one side, the constant pull will overstretch the muscles and exhaust the joints.
  7. Using muscles incorrectly. When opening a heavy door, push with your shoulder instead of your fingers. When lifting something off the floor, bend your knees and push up with your leg muscles. When carrying something, hold it close in the palms of your hands instead of causing stress to the fingers.
  8. Sleeping on your stomach. While it helps with snoring, it’s not the best for the rest of your body. Laying on your stomach forces the head back, compressing the spine. The head will also face one direction for a longer amount of time than it would if you were on your back.

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