you eat the right foods and stay active, thereís a good chance your
bones could carry you well into your old age. "There are several
well-established guidelines we recommend to patients that will help
keep bones healthy and prevent bone loss," says Dr. John England
of Orthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin in Waukesha.
Calcium-rich foods top the list of a
bone-friendly diet. "It is important to get 1,000 to 1,500
milligrams of calcium each day. You can get that in three to four
daily servings of dairy products. You can also get calcium in dark
green leafy vegetables and broccoli, but the absorption rate is much
lower," England says. And, of course, you can take calcium
supplements. "Calcium citrate is more readily absorbed than
calcium carbonate," he adds.
Magnesium is needed for the body to absorb
calcium. A daily dose of 250 milligrams of magnesium is sufficient. In
fact, some calcium supplements are combined with magnesium.
Being physically active is important for
maintaining bone health and strength. It might even make you feel
good. "Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, running
and racket sports are especially good for bone health. Weight training
is important, too," says Jill Urban, a physical therapist at
Keystone Physical Therapy in Brookfield.
Other types of exercise such as swimming and
yoga can also be good for bone health. Yoga contributes to balance and
flexibility, which helps to prevent falls. "Strengthening your
core or the center of your body is good. A solid center contributes to
a stronger spine," Urban says.
Exercise puts some stress on the bones and
prompts the body to make them stronger. "There are a lot of
different options when it comes to exercise. I tell people to find
something that works for them. You need 30 to 60 minutes a day three
to five times a week," Urban says. "I recommend that you
start slowly and build up. An exercise physiologist or personal
trainer can help you develop a plan."
Never underestimate the importance of
strong, healthy bones. The younger you are when you start taking care
of your bones, the better your chance of avoiding osteoporosis or loss
of bone density, which affects women in particular. Strong bones mean
easier movement and a more enjoyable lifestyle. M
More than 770,000 joint replacement
surgeries are performed in the United States every year, according to
the National Institutes of Health. These surgeries mean relief from
pain and the return to an active lifestyle for most individuals. But
many wonder just how long they can count on that new joint ó whether
itís a knee, hip, shoulder or wrist ó to hold up.
"Thatís the million-dollar
question," says Dr. Todd Swenson of Blount Orthopaedic Clinic in
Milwaukee. "Artificial joints are made of a metal alloy and
plastic or ceramic. As new products come out, they get tested on
robots that simulate human activities. But until we have evidence of
how they perform inside a human over a long period of time, we donít
know for sure. We are hoping for 15 years or greater," he says.
Joint replacements were formerly done on
older patients, Swenson says. "We tried to hold off until the
person was 65 to maximize the use of the joint. But now we have
changed our attitude and weíre doing them on younger patients who
may have had injuries in their 20s and 30s," he says. "We
will know more about the longevity of artificial joints when we have
an opportunity to study our younger patients with joint replacements
on a long-term basis."
Parents want their children to excel in
everything they do, including sports. But how much physical training
is too much? And, will it lead to orthopedic problems in later years?
"There is a lot of controversy about
this subject," says Jill Urban of Keystone Physical Therapy in
Brookfield. "Sometimes kids are put into specific sports because
they perform well. But they may be over-trained in this activity,
whether it is throwing a baseball, kicking a soccer ball or
gymnastics. And, a lot of kids donít make it to the college level
because they may become injured," she says.
Kidsí bones are different because they are
still growing and they are at risk for problems and injuries, says Dr.
Todd Swenson of Blount Orthopaedic Clinic in Milwaukee.
"Repetitive stress or being involved in only one activity can
lead to injuries in kids that adults might not get because their bones
are mature. Once you injure joints at a young age, you may have
problems later on," he says.
Balance in sports and activities is the
answer, Swenson says. "We tend to make kids specialize in a sport
at a young age. If you do the same type of activity year-round, it is
not good for growth. He points out that the American Orthopaedic
Society for Sports Medicine has formed a national campaign to help
prevent sports-related injuries among young athletes. Called STOP,
which stands for Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention, the goal is to
educate athletes, parents, trainers, coaches and health care providers
about the rapid increase in youth sports injuries, and the need to
keep young athletes healthy.
Vitamin D is used by the body to maintain
proper levels of calcium and phosphorus. Without it, your bones could
become soft and brittle. The sun is the best source of Vitamin D,
England says. "We need about half an hour of sunlight every day,
but in these northern latitudes, we canít always get enough Vitamin
D from the sun. Fortunately, you can also get it from supplements and
fortified cereal or dairy products. You need about 1,000 milligrams
per day," he says.
Certain habits are bad for bone health. For
example, smoking increases the amount of calcium excreted in urine, so
the bones may not get enough. Drinking a lot of caffeinated coffee and
soda and diets very high in animal protein have a similar effect.