What Causes Joint Pain?

It pays to be nice to your joints, because they’ll take you to some cool places. Think of your joints as door hinges – take care not to slam them too often, and pay attention to them before they make noise.

Joints can easily become inflamed and damaged due to a number of factors like too many strenuous and high impact activities, and paradoxically, not being active enough! Over time, those creaky joints can become painful, putting you at risk for osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage between the joints breaks down, causing chronic pain.

It’s ironic how joint pain stops us from living our lives, yet how lack of movement causes joint pain.
- Eva Redpath, Nike Master Trainer, Women's Fitness Leader & Creator of Body Conditioning by Dancers

Tips to Keep Your Joints in Tip Top Shape

Be proactive

You know how the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Be nice to your joints now – before pain sets in – so you can enjoy a lifetime of mobility. If you are very active, you’re subjecting your joints to extra impact that takes a toll over time. Family health history can also reveal genetic determinants of vulnerability to inflammatory joint conditions.

Find the right activities

Yes, it’s a little confusing that too little exercise can cause joint pain, but so can too much exercise. The solution? Move your body daily, and don’t be afraid to mix it up with plenty of different activities. A wide variety of activities support balanced muscle tone that stabilizes joints for healthy movement patterns, so aim to add in a variety of activities that match your fitness level, like weight training, HIIT, pilates, walking and jogging. And don’t forget activities like yoga, which can improve your flexibility and keep your joints moving well. If your joints are already in pain, don’t stop moving – dial down your activity level and focus on lower impact activities.

Feed your joints

You can nourish and care for the structural components of your joints with each bite you take. Minimize foods that fuel inflammation in the body, including those that are refined, processed and high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Fill your plate with inflammation-taming foods, like phytonutrient-rich fresh fruits and vegetables. Some foods that have been found to specifically lower inflammation include pineapples, ginger, avocado and turmeric.