The Amazing Connection Between Exercise and Mood

Exercise is often thought to be beneficial for the physical body but getting active actually has some profound benefits for the mind as well. The human mind and body are so interconnected that what’s good for one is often good for the other, and this is certainly true with exercise.

The benefits of exercise are plentiful and extend to people of varying skill levels and abilities.

This article will explore the connection between exercise and mood and emphasize how joint pain sufferers should continue to exercise to gain important mood-elevating benefits. Not only can exercise help reduce joint pain, but it can also dramatically reduce the mental frustration of living with arthritis every day.

The Effects of Exercise on the Mind

Getting the body moving releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals that make a person feel good. Exercise also has a way of distracting the mind in a healthy way and away from worries and negative thoughts that can lead to anxiety and depression. With regular exercise, individuals can cope with problems without resorting to negative behaviors, gain confidence, and even become more social.

Research evidence also suggests that exercise can help improve memory by increasing activity in the hippocampus part of the brain, improve cognitive performance, and reduce pain with both high-impact and low-impact activities. Additionally, exercise may help the mind be more creative, productive, and even help control addictive tendencies.

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Endorphins Exercise and Elevated Mood

It’s often very easy to notice the effects of exercise on the mind because mood enhancements can occur within just the first few minutes of working out. However, the effects of exercise go beyond just this initial feeling and are long-lasting too.

Research has shown that exercising on a regular basis can help prevent long-term depression, reduce negative thoughts in challenging situations, and help people cope with stress in better ways.

Considerations About Exercise and Joint Pain

Many people who suffer from arthritis are hesitant to exercise out of fear that moving sore joints will only make their conditions worse. One important thing to remember about exercise and joint pain is that getting active doesn’t always have to include planned, repetitive activities, such as going to the gym or running laps. Physical activity in all forms, including backyard chores and playing with the family dog, provides valuable mood-boosting benefits as well.

In addition to elevated mood, the benefits of exercise for joint pain sufferers include less overall pain because exercise increases blood flow to the joints, builds muscle around the joints to support them, and improves range of motion to provide greater flexibility and resilience to excess pressure. With all of these beneficial effects of exercise and so many more, joint pain sufferers owe it to themselves to talk to their doctors about the types of exercise that are safe to practice for improved physical and mental health.

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Understanding Athletic Activity and Post Traumatic Arthritis

Post traumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that forms after an injury to a joint. It is a type of osteoarthritis and is known to affect at least 5.6 million people in the U.S. today.

This condition is most common in the hips, knees, and ankles, which means that athletes are at a heightened risk of developing it.

This article will discuss the connection between athletic activity and post traumatic arthritis to help athletes prevent and treat painful joints that have been injured in the past. It will also address the various causes and symptoms of post traumatic arthritis to help athletes and their doctors arrive at a prompt and accurate diagnosis.

Can Injury Cause Arthritis?

Yes, sports injuries can lead to arthritis even years after the original injury has completely healed. This very specific type of arthritis is caused when a joint is worn out and sustains one or more significant injuries. Athletes often injure their joints in practice and competition, but joint injuries can also occur because of automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, and other types of physical trauma. Athletes who train hard and work through injuries are especially at risk of developing traumatic arthritis because damaged joints are more prone to future injuries.

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Symptoms of Post Traumatic Arthritis

Joint pain and swelling are very common among people who have various forms of arthritis, including post traumatic arthritis. Athletes who develop this condition because of a prior injury also often have fluid that accumulates at the affected joint and progressive weakness while performing sports and basic daily activities.

Post Traumatic Arthritis Treatment

Post traumatic arthritis treatment options include taking prescribed arthritis medications and using arthritis pain relief creams to target pain where it hurts the most. It is also recommended that people with this condition maintain a healthy body weight in order to avoid excess strain on the joints and choose low-impact sports like cycling and swimming instead of high-impact ones like running or snowboarding. Post traumatic arthritis ankle treatments, for example, may require additional range-of-motion exercises to keep the joints moving and working well. Eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as ginger, turmeric, and fish, can also help make the symptoms of post traumatic arthritis less debilitating.

How Athletes Can Prevent Traumatic Arthritis

Of course, it is far better to prevent post traumatic arthritis through proactive injury prevention rather than dealing with the painful symptoms later in life. Athletes should always stretch before and after exercising and learn the proper techniques for their chosen sports to prevent injuries. Post traumatic arthritis will not likely form without a serious injury happening to a joint first. Athletes should know and accept their own personal limits and not overdo it to put excess strain on the joints that they are not ready for. When an injury occurs, it’s important to apply ice to it immediately to reduce inflammation and restore joint functionality. Many athletes who are young feel that they are invincible and can overcome whatever injuries come their way. Therefore, it’s important to educate athletes about the long-term dangers of joint injuries and promote a healthy awareness about the importance of joint health during all stages of life and levels of physical activity.

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Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Prevent Sedentary Lifestyle Effects

The human body was designed to be in motion. However, work, injuries, chronic medical conditions, and just plain laziness often lead people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle instead.

The sedentary lifestyle risks are great, as a lack of physical activity leads to the onset of a wide variety of physical and mental ailments.

This article will discuss what constitutes a sedentary lifestyle, sedentary lifestyle effects, and healthy lifestyle tips to be more active. With a little knowledge, encouragement, and accountability, sedentary individuals can take back control of their health and prevent significant health issues from forming or getting worse.

What Is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

Being sedentary means sitting or lying down for a vast majority of the day without getting up to stretch, exercise, or just move around one’s environment.1,2 People who live sedentary lives get very little, if any, exercise, and any activity performed is low-intensity.3 A moderate level of activity is approximately two and a half hours per week of moderate intensity exercise. Finally, a high level of activity involves working out until the heart rate is heightened, the breathing rate is rapid, and sweat breaks out.

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Sedentary Lifestyle Effects

The risks of a sedentary lifestyle are often focused on being overweight and obese, but there are many other health issues that can also result from sitting too long throughout the day.4 For example, a lack of physical activity has been linked to certain types of cancer and increases a person’s risk of anxiety and depression.5 It can also be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Recent studies suggest that living a sedentary lifestyle can be just as harmful to a person’s health as smoking cigarettes.6,7,8

Sedentary Lifestyle Solutions

It can be very difficult to start being active again once a person gets used to living a sedentary lifestyle. Many people’s jobs require them to sit in front of a computer all day, but office workers can still get up to take breaks and move around throughout the day.2,7,8 Instead of taking the elevator to the office, take the stairs. And consider using a sit-to-stand workstation to add variety to working positions. While at home, some sedentary lifestyle solutions include getting up to do chores or exercise sets during television commercial breaks, starting a backyard garden for a fun outdoor activity, and going for walks around the neighborhood with the family dog.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

For individuals who suffer from arthritis pain, getting active can be much more feasible while using topical pain relief creams, like JointFlex. When starting to exercise again or increase the amount of exercise per day, always start small and gradually ramp up activity to prevent muscle strains and joint pain. Also, there are so many different ways to exercise that have nothing to do with going to the gym and running on a treadmill.9 Some of the best healthy lifestyle tips involve getting outside more often to get the body moving and enjoy the beauty of nature. The important thing is to find a type of enjoyable exercise that is more of a joy than a chore, and then to stick with it while throwing in some occasional variety for an extra challenge and sustainable motivation.

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REFERENCES for HEALTHY LIFESTYLE TIPS to PREVENT SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE EFFECTS

1. Health risks of an inactive lifestyle. MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html.
2. Move more every day to combat a sedentary lifestyle. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/move-more-every-day-to-combat-a-sedentary-lifestyle-2018052413913.
3. A healthier you: Chapter 4-Where to start. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/healthieryou/html/chapter4.html.
4. Barnes, A. S. & Coulter, S. A. (2012). Obesity and sedentary lifestyles: Risk for cardiovascular disease in women. Texas Heart Institute Journal, 39, 224-227. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from National Institute of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384027/.
5. Risks of physical inactivity. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/risks_of_physical_inactivity_85,P00218.
6. Kerr, J., Anderson, C, & Lippman, S. M. (2017 August 1). Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, diet, and cancer: an update and emerging new evidence. The Lancet Oncology, 18, PE457-E471. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(17)30411-4/fulltext.
7. Sitting vs smoking: What’s the scale of the risk? The One Brief. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from http://theonebrief.com/sitting-vs-smoking-whats-the-scale-of-the-risk/.
8. The dangers of sitting: why sitting is the new smoking. Better Health Channel. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/the-dangers-of-sitting.
9. Participating in activities you enjoy. National Institute on Aging. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/participating-activities-you-enjoy.

The Common ACL Tear & Preventing ACL Arthritis Later in Life

One of the most common athletic injuries is the ACL tear, and this injury can lead to some serious long-term complications. Most notably, ACL injuries can lead to arthritis later in life even if effective treatment is pursued.

Research shows that people who undergo ACL reconstructive surgery are three to five times more likely to develop arthritis in the knee.1,2 However, there are things that ACL injury patients can do to reduce their arthritis risk.

Here is some information about the common athletic injury of an ACL tear and what can be done to prevent arthritis after ACL surgery. This article will cover what an ACL is, how it can become damaged, and why this damage can lead to ACL arthritis.

All About the ACL and ACL Tear

ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, and this is a major ligament in the knee.3 ACL tear injuries commonly occur in sports like basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, tennis, and gymnastics because these activities require jumping, sudden stops, and directional changes.

Individual who suffer an ACL tear may feel and hear a pop in the knee, followed by swelling and severe pain. Loss of range of motion and feelings of instability are also common. Surgery is often recommended for athletes who have an ACL injury, and it can take six to nine months for athletes to fully get back to their favorite activities.

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Causes of ACL Arthritis

It is unfortunate but true that most young athletes who have ACL surgery in their teens will develop ACL arthritis by their 30s.4 This may be because an artificially reconstructed ACL rests at a slightly different angle than a natural one, and this changes the future positions and rotations of the knee. This fact has led some physicians to recommend non-surgical ACL injury treatments to young patients, such as injecting stem cells into damaged ligament fibers.5,6

The Frequency of Osteoarthritis after ACL Surgery

Osteoarthritis after ACL surgery occurs because reconstructed knees tend to be more prone to wear and tear of the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones.2 The first signs of osteoarthritis typically become noticeable about five to ten years after having this surgery.7 But of course, every ACL tear is different and other factors, such as repetitive knee injuries and weight gain, can also contribute to the early onset of osteoarthritis in athletes.

How to Prevent Arthritis After an ACL Injury

Fortunately, there are some preventative measures that can be taken during and after an ACL injury to prevent the onset of arthritis. Exercise therapy has proven very effective in reducing rates of OA in people who have had ACL surgery.7,8,9 Low-impact exercises are typically recommended for recovering ACL patients in order to reduce wear and tear to the knee.9 This could include swimming and upper body strength training to allow the injury to fully heal. Topical pain relief creams like JointFlex can help reduce discomfort while exercising without the risk of medication side effects.

To prevent an ACL injury from happening in the first place, regularly practice exercises that strengthen the hamstrings, hips, and lower abs.10,11 It is also a good idea to train and improve athletic techniques related to pivoting and jumping in particular, since these activities are common causes of ACL tears.

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REFERENCES for COMMON ACL TEAR PREVENTING ARTHRITIS

1. Paschos, N. K. (2017 March). Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and knee osteoarthritis. World Journal of Orthopedics, 8, 212-217. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from National Center of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359756/.
2. Doyle, K. (2014 March 27). Knee arthritis more likely after ACL surgery. Reuters. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-knee-arthritis-surgery/knee-arthritis-more-likely-after-acl-surgery-idUSBREA2Q1B120140327.
3. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 21, 2018 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001074.htm.
4. Porat, A. V., Roos, E. M., & Roos, H. (2004). High prevalence of osteoarthritis 14 years after an anterior cruciate ligament tear in male soccer players: a study of radiographic and patient relevant outcomes. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 63, 269-273. BMJ Publishing Group. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://ard.bmj.com/content/63/3/269.
5. ACL injury: Does it require surgery? American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/acl-injury-does-it-require-surgery/.
6. Centeno, C. J., Pitts, J., Al-Sayegh, H., & Freeman, M.D. (2015 July). Anterior cruciate ligament tears treated with percutaneous injection of autologous bone marrow nucleated cells: a case series. Journal of Pain Research, 8, 437-447. Retrieved October 17, 2018 from National Center of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4527573/.
7. Davis, J. Adequate rehab after ACL repair Cuts OA risk. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/joint-surgery/types/knee/acl-surgery-knee-range-motion.php.
8. ACL reconstruction – discharge. MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000189.htm.
9. Quinn, E. & Fogoros, R. E. (2018 September 21). Step-By-Step Guide to ACL Rehabilitation Exercises. Verywellhealth. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://www.verywellhealth.com/acl-surgery-rehab-exercises-3120748.
10. Preventing ACL tears: 4 tips for girls and women. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-woman/nutrition-fitness/preventing-acl-tears-4-tips-for-girls-and-women.
11. Camacho, R. How to prevent ACL injuries in high school athletes. Breakingmuscle.com. Retrieved October 21, 2018 from https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/how-to-prevent-acl-injuries-in-high-school-athletes.

5 Ways That Exercise Can Help Reduce Joint Pain

Is exercise good for joint pain, and is walking good for joint pain? These are questions that many arthritis sufferers have, and a lack of information often prevents individuals from pursuing exercise as a healthy treatment option.

Not only is exercising with joint pain and arthritis possible, but it is actually recommended for reducing symptoms and keeping the joints active for many years to come.1

Exercises can be modified to the needs of joint pain sufferers so that they are safe and target specific joints that are symptomatic.2

Here is an explanation of how working out can help with joint pain and five ways that exercise is beneficial for people who have various types of joint pain.

1. Exercise Increases Blood Flow

Every part of the human body requires a healthy blood flow to continue functioning properly, even the joints.3,4 Exercise is a great way to boost blood flow and encourage better circulation to the body’s various parts. When a person with weak or pained joints exercises, the synovial membrane receives more of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to thrive.5

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2. Exercise Builds Muscle Around the Joints

Many people think of exercise as a way to bulk up and build muscle, but there are also important applications for arthritis patients. Exercise strengthens the muscles that surround the joints, as well as the neighboring ligaments and tendons.5,6 When all of these components are strong, they can cushion and support the joints more effectively and reduce joint pain.

3. Exercise Lubricates and Nourishes the Joints

Joint pain is also reduced during and after exercise because physical activity boosts the circulation of synovial fluid, which is used to lubricate joints.5 Exercise also moves water molecules that put weight on the joints and cause pain. In this way, exercise helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the joints without blockages.

4. Exercise Improves Range of Motion

However, exercise isn’t all about getting the heart rate up and sculpting muscle. It’s also a great way to improve flexibility and range of motion in the joints.6 When the joints are regularly exposed to movement, they stay more limber and active. This way, when daily activities require strain on the joints, they are more flexible and can handle the excess pressure.

5. Exercise Removes Cellular Waste

Another important benefit of exercise is that it removes cellular waste through a natural biological process.5 Damaged cells in the joints that are no longer helping the body can be eliminated with regular exercise and reduce pain over time.

Exercises to Help with Joint Pain

Arthritis pain sufferers should always ask their doctors before starting a new workout regimen. But as a general rule, these are some exercises that are often recommended for exercising with arthritis.7

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Elliptical machine
  • Bicycling
  • Body weight strength training
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Taichi

Many athletes who have arthritis use over-the-counter topical pain-relievers like JointFlex to provide immediate and long-lasting relief after exercise. But no matter which exercises one chooses, it’s important to begin slowly and gradually increase time and weight.8 Fortunately, there are many different types of exercise and easy ways to modify exercises based on skill and ability. This means that all arthritis sufferers can discover workouts they enjoy and can benefit from.

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REFERENCES FOR FIVE WAYS EXERCISE CAN HELP REDUCE JOINT PAIN

1. Benefits of exercise for osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/benefits/exercise-knee-osteoarthritis.php.
2. Bartlett, S. The role of exercise in arthritis management. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/role-of-exercise-in-arthritis-management/#ihelp.
3. Benefits of exercise. MedlinePlus. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html.
4. Casey, D. P. & Joyner, M. J. (2015 April). Regulation of increased blood flow (hyperemia) to muscles during exercise: A hierarchy of competing physiological needs. Physiological Reviews, 95, 549-601. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4551211/.
5. How exercise helps your joints. Arthritis Today Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise-benefits-for-joints/.
6. Johnston, B. D. (2018 September). Benefits of exercise. The Merck Manual: Consumer Version. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/fundamentals/exercise-and-fitness/benefits-of-exercise.
7. Recommended activities. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved November 1, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/arthritis-friendly/.
8. Physical activity for arthritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 1, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/physical-activity-overview.html.

Low Impact Exercise & Workout Modifications for Arthritic Athletes

Some athletes believe that a diagnosis of arthritis means the end to their competitive or performance careers, but this is simply not true. In regards to arthritis and sports, athletes living with various joint conditions can continue the activities they love with just a few changes and minor adjustments. Whether an athlete needs to accommodate an arthritic knee, hip, elbow or other body parts, there are safe and effective ways to continue exercising without causing additional damage.

Here is a description of several workout modifications that athletes with arthritis can make to continue playing sports. This article will also cover recommendations for low impact exercise options and types of exercise easy on knees.

Swimming and Rowing Instead of Running and Stair-Climbing

As a general rule, athletes with arthritis benefit from low impact exercise rather than high impact activities.1 However, cardiovascular training is important for performance and also general wellness. For athletes with arthritis, focus on non-weight bearing exercises that utilize large groups of muscles. Swimming, water walking, other aquatic exercises, dancing, elliptical machines, and rowing are great low impact exercises that get the blood pumping and the heart rate up. Some arthritic athletes may benefit from cycling as well.

Choose these types of cardio exercise over running, jogging, or stair-climbing if arthritis symptoms exist in the hips or knees. Also, barre-style exercises are great low impact exercise alternatives to HIIT or CrossFit workouts, which put more strain on the joints.

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Partial Resistance Exercises Over Full Range of Motion

Strength and resistance training exercises can help individuals with arthritis strengthen the muscles around their joints and feel less pain during workouts.2,3,4 It is recommended that athletes who have arthritis pain in a specific joint target the muscles groups around that joint in their workouts. However, a well-rounded strength training plan that incorporates all major muscle groups should be practiced overall.

It is appropriate for these athletes to use weight machines, free weights, elastic bands, and their own body weight as part of a resistance training program.5 Start with light weights and fewer repetitions at the beginning of a new training plan.6 It may also be beneficial to reduce the range of motion of certain exercises to protect painful joints.7 For example, partial squats can be performed in place of full squats, and stationary lunges can be performed in place of walking lunges. Modifications like these represent types of exercise easy on knees for arthritis sufferers.

Targeted Stretching Exercises

Stretching is incredibly important for anyone with arthritis, but especially for athletes. Warm-up and cool-down stretches improve flexibility and range of motion through passive movements that lengthen and strengthen muscles.8 Since the hamstrings, calves, and fronts of the shoulders tend to lose flexibility with age, athletes with arthritis should focus on these large muscle groups while stretching. Many athletes use arthritis relief creams like JointFlex to provide immediate and long-lasting relief before and after workouts.

Any Exercise Can Be Modified

It is also important to remember that essentially any exercise can be modified, so athletes shouldn’t feel restricted to the types of workouts they do.9 Arthritis sufferers have good days and bad days, so what works well at the gym on Monday might not work at all on Wednesday.

Any exercise is better than no exercise at all, but it may be necessary to slow down the pace, reduce the weight, switch to low impact exercise or stop exercising for the day if pain worsens with movement. A physician, physical therapist, or personal trainer may be able to provide more specific suggestions about tailoring workouts to an athlete’s abilities and the severity of arthritis symptoms.

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REFERENCES FOR LOW IMPACT EXERCISES…FOR ARTHRITIC ATHLETES

1. Winters, C. Fifteen ways to work out with arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Joint pain. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/other-activities/workouts-for-arthritis.php.
2. How exercise helps your joints. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 24, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise-benefits-for-joints/.
3. DeVries, C. (2015 July 6). Strength training can crush arthritis pain. Arthritis Health. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/strength-training-can-crush-arthritis-pain.
4. Strength training is essential for arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/strength-training-arthritis/.
5. Strength training for people with arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/strength-training-types/.
6. Weight training 101. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 31, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/how-to/weight-training-for-beginners.php.
7. Five weight training tips for people with arthritis. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 31, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-weight-training-tips-for-people-with-arthritis.
8. Warm up, cool down and be flexible. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/warm-up-cool-down-and-be-flexible/.
9. Funiciello, M. (2011 February 25). Exercising with arthritis. Arthritis Health. Retrieved October 31, 2018 from https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/exercise/exercising-arthritis.

How Running Marathons Strains the Body and Tips to Prevent Pain

Running is one of the most effective forms of exercise the human body can ever engage in.

Long distances and the intense training involved in marathon running can put a serious strain on the body’s various parts.

Running a marathon has been compared to the same level of trauma as having heart surgery because everything from the joints to muscles, organs, and hormones are affected by those epic 26.2 miles.1

Here are some examples of how running marathons affects the body, as well as tips for running knee support and pre- and post-run stretches for better joint health.

Knee Pain After Marathon Running

Running puts a lot of stress on the knees, which are joints made up of the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella. There are also several major ligaments and tendons involved in the movement of the knee, all of which are heavily affected by long-distance running.2 Patellar tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome are common knee conditions associated with running.3,4,5,6 Poor footwear and muscular strength imbalances, such as flat feet, can make knee problems worse.3,5

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Hip Pain Running Concerns

The hips are constantly in motion while running, and pain in this region is often caused by hip alignment issues.6 Many people have one leg that is slightly longer than the other, which can lead to hip pain during and after running. Strength imbalances, a history of injuries, poor posture, and bad habits that favor one side of the body over the other can exacerbate hip issues.7 Hip misalignments should be diagnosed by a professional after testing the range of motion and determining the cause of the problem. Active release techniques, massage, and strength training are often recommended to prevent and alleviate hip pain.8

Foot Pain Running Concerns

Foot pain while running can also be very debilitating because the feet are made up of many small bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Some of the most common causes of foot pain in runners are plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, extensor tendonitis, and adductor and abductor hallucis.9,10 Also, many athletes neglect to stretch their feet before and after runs like they would other parts of the body. Arch raises, toe pulls with resistance bands, and seated toe stretches are all great for getting the feet warmed up and ready to run.11

How to Stretch Before a Run

It is important to stretch both before and after a run of any length or intensity, but especially during marathon training. Dynamic stretches that use movement to warm up the joints and take joints through a full range of motion are wonderful to practice before a run.12 Walking lunges, side stretches, yoga pigeon pose, hip circles, and calf raises are all pre-run stretches that help prevent injury and mobilize the joints. These are also good stretches to maintain flexibility in the various joints over time.

Great Post-Run Stretches to Try

Many people are relieved at the end of the run and ready to sit down and relax. However, post-run stretches are just as important as pre-run stretches.12 Incorporate hamstring stretches, sitting glute stretches, hip flexor stretches, and foot and ankle rolls into a post-run routine for the best long-term results. Even spending just five or 10 minutes on stretching before and after a run can make a huge difference in how well a person runs, their recovery, and therefore may impact how many marathons can be completed.

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REFERENCES FOR HOW RUNNING MARATHONS STRAINS THE BODY AND TIPS TO PREVENT PAIN

1. Foley, K. E. (2017 March 28). Running a marathon is as traumatic for your body as having heart surgery. Quartz. Retrieved November 1, 2018 from https://qz.com/943754/marathon-running-causes-temporary-kidney-damage/.
2. Cole, A. J. (2014 May 23). Common running injuries: Knee pain. Sports Health. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/running-injuries/common-running-injuries-knee-pain.
3. Anterior knee pain. MedlinePlus. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000452.htm.
4. Khadavi, M. (2016 January 20). Jumper’s knee vs. runner’s knee. Sports Health. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/knee-injuries/jumper-s-knee-vs-runner-s-knee.
5. Patellofemoral pain syndrome. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/.
6. Khadavi, M. (2016 January 20). Symptoms of runner’s knee. Sports Health. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/knee-injuries/symptoms-runners-knee.
7. Khadavi, M. (2016 January 20). What you need to know about runner’s knee. Sports Health. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/knee-injuries/what-you-need-know-about-runners-knee.
8. Khadavi, M. (2016 January 20). Treatment of runner’s knee. Sports Health. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/knee-injuries/treatment-runners-knee.
9. Cole, A. J. (2014 May 23). Common running injuries: Foot pain. Sports Health. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/running-injuries/common-running-injuries-knee-pain.
10. Chock, C. Runners and foot injuries: Four causes of foot pain. Active. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.active.com/running/articles/runners-and-foot-injuries-4-causes-of-foot-pain?page=2.
11. Weck, D. Five foot strengthening exercises to improve speed, power, and balance. Breakingmuscle.com. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/5-foot-strengthening-exercises-to-improve-speed-power-and-balance.
12. The complete guide to stretching for runners. Runner’s World. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from https://www.runnersworld.co.uk/health/the-rw-complete-guide-to-stretching-for-runners.

Jumper Knee Symptoms, Causes, Damage & Treatment

The medical name for jumper’s knee is patellar tendonitis, which is a condition involving overuse of the knee and localized pain.1,2 It is a tendon injury that occurs at the point where the tendon attaches to the bone and is commonly seen in athletes.

Many athletes find the pain to be nagging, but not unbearable, leading them to continue exercising and potentially cause long-term damage.

Jumper’s knee can be difficult to treat, and it requires periods of sustained rest for healing. Here is some information about the symptoms and causes of jumper’s knee, as well as which sports can lead to this condition and how to prevent its occurrence.

Understanding Knee Pain From Jumping

Jumper’s knee is typically caused by excessive jumping and running that causes the patella tendon to become inflamed and deteriorate.2 The motion of jumping can cause the quadriceps muscles to pull on the kneecap, which puts a lot of strain on the patella tendon. It is an injury of overuse that develops with repetitive motion and small tears over time. Basketball and track-and-field sports that involve jumping can lead to this condition.

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Jumper’s Knee Symptoms

Athletes who experience jumper’s knee typically complain of pain at the bottom front portion of the kneecap and over the patella’s lower pole. This region will be tender to the touch and may be swollen compared to the other side of the kneecap. The pain is often mild, but most acute when doing exercises that contract the quadriceps muscles.

Jumper’s Knee Exercises

There are certain exercises that athletes can do to help alleviate the pain of jumper’s knee and prevent it from occurring in the first place.3,4,5 It is important for athletes to strengthen and stretch the quadriceps muscles on a regular basis so that the legs can withstand repetitive jumping without causing knee damage.

Athletes should keep the lower body muscles flexible by doing quadriceps stretches and hip flexor stretches, such as knee-hugs and lunges. Strengthening exercises that are beneficial for athletes who jump regularly as part of their training or performance should also be practiced. These include isometric quad contractions, simple leg extensions, squats, and step-back exercises. Plyometric exercises, like jumping rope, can also help build up athletes’ tolerance for jumping and build knee strength.

Jumper Knee Treatment

The first steps to relieving jumper’s knee pain are to rest the knee and use ice therapy as part of a rehabilitation program.2 To relieve jumper’s knee pain, athletes often use topical spot-treatments, like JointFlex, for fast relief. Athletes should apply a cold pack to the knee after exercise and during the first 24 hours of pain, for periods of 10 minutes per hour until the pain improves. It also helps to elevate the knee during painful periods.

Eccentric strengthening exercises, wearing a knee support, and anti-inflammatory medications may help as well.6 In severe cases of jumper’s knee, a doctor may recommend electrotherapy, cross friction massage, physical therapy, and even surgery. Surgery should only be pursued after more conservative methods have been tried and proven ineffective. The surgical process often involves cutting the tendon longitudinally and removing the abnormal tissue.

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REFERENCES for JUMPER KNEE SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND TREATMENT

1. Tendinitis. MedlinePlus. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://medlineplus.gov/tendinitis.html.
2. Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/mens_health/patellar_tendonitis_jumpers_knee_85,P00922.
3. Exercises for jumper’s knee. Summitt Medical Group Foundation. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/library/adult_health/sma_patellar_tendonitis_exercises/.
4. Rehabilitation for patellar tendinitis (jumpers knee) and patellofemoral syndrome (chondromalacia patella). Boston Sports Medicine and Research Institute. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://www.bostonsportsmedicine.com/pdf/protocols/patellar_tendinitis_and_chondromalacia.pdf.
5. Metzl, J. D. (2016 June 29). Treating and preventing patellar tendinitis (Or “jumper’s knee”). Triathlete. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.triathlete.com/2016/06/training/treating-preventing-patellar-tendinitis-jumpers-knee_133635.
6. Gemas, T. K. (2015 September 24). Treatment of jumper’s knee. Sports Health. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/knee-injuries/treatment-jumpers-knee.