It’s fair to say that joint pain is a common complaint in triathletes. The repetitive nature of swimming, cycling and running puts a lot of stress on the joints and the muscles, tendons and tissues surrounding them.
I have mild Osteoarthritis in my hips, which means that the protective cartilage which cushions the ends of the bones has started to wear away. The result is pain, inflammation and reduced range of movement in the affected joint. I’m always conscious of looking after my joints as I’d like to keep training for triathlons for many years to come.
Here are some ways I’ve been taking care of my joint health…
Balanced and nutritious diet for joint health
Including nutrient-rich foods can help reduce inflammation and pain. Try to include the following in your diet:
- Coldwater fish including mackerel, salmon and herring as a source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries which contain the antioxidant anthocyanin to fight inflammation
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli which are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene and vitamin C which aids in the production of collagen
- Turmeric which contains curcumin which decreases inflammation in joints
Recovery sandals and flip-flops are designed to support the feet and reduce impact on the joints. OOFOS are a popular brand of recovery footwear- their sandals are constructed from a unique foam material which absorbs 37% more shock than performance footwear. The footbed cradles your arches and takes the pressure off your ankles, knees, hips and lower back. They might not look like the most stylish shoes, but they feel amazing to slip on after a race and let your feet recover.
Supplements for joint health
You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of supplements which are developed to support collagen formation within the body. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is usually enough to give the body what it needs to produce collagen, but it can’t hurt to take a supplement.
Collagen is the main component of connective tissues including tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Normally, cartilage protects the adjacent bones, however, if your cartilage deteriorates your joints lose flexibility. I’ve been supplementing with LithoLexal which contains a marine extract, Manganese and Vitamin C to support natural collagen formation.
Topical Creams and Gels
There are a lot of topical treatments on the market which are designed to improve joint health and reduce pain. I’ve been using FLEXISEQ Active which is a drug-free gel designed to relieve pain and stiffness and improve joint function. The gel contains tiny lipid spheres which pass through the skin into the joint below where they lubricate the surface of the cartilage.
OOFOS sandals, LithoLexal supplement and FLEXISEQ gel were all gifted, but all opinions my own.
How do you look after your joint health?