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Vital Tips to Take Care of Joint Health During Lockdown by Dr. Rakesh Nair, consultant knee replacement surgeon at Zen Super Speciality Hospital

India is reeling under coronavirus. To curb the spread of it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put the country under the lockdown. Though unlock phase 2 has begun and many essential services are resuming, people have been advised to stay at home in order to protect themselves from getting infected with the coronavirus. But, staying indoors can induce immobility that can further aggravate joint problems. Here’s what you must do to take care of your joint health...

COVID-19 is a virus that causes respiratory disease and in serious cases, it can lead to pneumonia. In the wake of coronavirus, the entire country is under the lockdown. People have been advised to stay home and stay safe. Thus, staying at home, and a lack of physical activity can lead to the immobility of joints.

Joints in the bodies need to be mobile to prevent them from getting stiff. Stiffness is because of the muscles controlling the joints have not been exercised, adequately. Due to the lockdown, there were major issues in the young and elderly people involving the joints. For example- if someone already has a problem with his/her knees that is the main weight-bearing joint then any form of weight-bearing exercise like walking, climbing, spot running, skipping will aggravate the knee joint problems. Doing these activities recklessly can put pressure on the knees. Thus, many people may experience discomfort and knee pain during these difficult times of pandemic.

It is the need of the hour to keep one’s body active and avoid joint stiffness, body, and muscle pain. During the lockdown, one must adhere to a healthy lifestyle, pain management, and keep moving to avoid immobility. People with arthritis should be extra cautious, stay physically active, and maintain an optimum weight to manage the pain.

Here are some vital strategies to deal with joint pain

∙ The right form of exercise is required to tackle joint problems. What to do? Do simple exercise to strengthen the knee muscles that is the quadriceps and the hamstrings, these are the muscle around the knees, and these exercises can be learnt from any physiotherapist, online or a yoga instructor.

∙ Once you have worked on strengthening the local muscles, the easiest and best form of exercise is static cycling. Normally 20-30 minutes of cycling with pulse racing to around 120 per minutes can do the trick.

∙ Another common thing is the deficiency of vitamin d3 and vitamin b12. Do the test to get the exact amount of medication you need to supplement in oral or injectable form. Taking too much calcium can increase the weight and chances of renal stones. Get your daily dose of vitamin D by exposing yourself to the sun. Doing so can relieve one’s joint pain. Stick to a well-balanced diet. Eat foods loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as cherries, walnuts, ginger, salmon, oranges, tomatoes and turmeric that may help reduce inflammation.

∙ Say No to processed, junk, and oily food. Eating refined carbohydrates and trans fats, and drinking sugary beverages is a strict no no.

∙ Yogic breathing exercises reduce the tension and knots in one's joints and improve the flexibility of joints and muscles.

∙ Try to just walk around in the hose. Take frequent breaks and stretch from time to time.

A word of caution: All floor exercises may not be comfortable for patients with back and knee problems and may aggravate pain. Opt for exercises that don’t cause too much pain. You need flexibility and muscle strengthening to prevent joint problems while staying indoors.

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