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Healthy Aging

Aging is Inevitable. Pain is not.

Aging is inevitable, but the aches, pains and associated ailments don’t have to be. Many people report aches and pains beginning as early as age 30 years old. As you grow older, you may begin to notice a change in your body’s ability to recover quickly, or that aches, pains and lingering soreness are increasingly common.

Knowing and understanding how your body changes with age can help you find activities that are appropriate and reasonable, while also helping you age as healthfully and pain-free as possible.

David Cox, DPT, a physical therapist at Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, shared a few insights and recommendations to promote healthy aging.

What are the most common ailments or conditions you treat in people as they age?

Between the ages of 30 and 45, we see a huge range from acute to overuse injuries. Examples of overuse injuries in this population are lower back pain, shoulder impingement and meniscal derangements as well as many forms of tendinitis. These typically come from performing repetitive activities with fair or poor mechanics or from

overreaching one’s physical ability by participating in activities you may have been able to perform in earlier seasons of life.

Are any of these conditions preventable? How so?

Most, if not all, overuse injuries are preventable by maintaining proper mobility and strength, as well as being aware of body mechanics with all activities—whether that be lifting or repetitive activities such as running.

Maintaining physical fitness and activity levels, as well as consuming a balanced, healthy diet are very important to promoting overall wellbeing as we age.

How does nutrition affect aging?

Nutrition plays a huge role in healthy aging. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, avoiding inflammatory foods and maintaining proper body mass/body fat ratios are vital to healthy aging.  Proper nutrition also promotes energy and gives our body what it needs to repair and heal itself. 

What advice would you give someone in young adulthood through older adulthood to best support their bodies?

It’s important to start being active young so that you are able to maintain good strength, cardiovascular and joint health throughout adulthood.

As you age, maintaining cardiovascular fitness and ensuring that stability and “small muscle” strength is maintained will help bone and joint health as you age.

People approaching older adulthood should stay aware of their bone and joint health and should be performing appropriate weight-bearing and strengthening exercises to slow the degenerative changes that can eventually occur.

If I’m experiencing pain or injury, what treatment options are available at Bone and Joint?

Bone and Joint offers many specialties to assist with healthy aging. From our orthopaedists to our rehab team, we can offer injury care and rehabilitation to address all functional limitations and mechanics. If an injury requires additional intervention, we have world-class orthopaedic surgeons and specialists to help get you back on track. 

To view a complete list of Bone and Joint Institute services and capabilities, visit boneandjointtn.org.