Broken bones are very common in the world of sports injury and many times are unavoidable. Right? Not always. Keeping your bones strong, along with a healthy body, could change the outcome of an unfortunate situation. Focusing on bone health could help prevent problems down the road. Are you doing what you can to keep your bones strong?
Keep Your Bones Strong
A healthy skeletal system is important for several reasons. Bones have several functions in the body. These include the protection of organs, structural integrity and calcium storage. Bones also serve as anchors for muscles.
As one grows older, the ability to build bone is decreased. Staying healthy and starting early are ways to keep your bones in good shape. Bone health is affected by the following factors:
• Race, body frame and family history.
• Hormone levels, including thyroid hormone.
• Physical activity levels.
• The amount of calcium in your diet. Low calcium contributes to early bone loss, diminished bone density, and increased risk of fractures.
• Gender – Women tend to have less bone mass compared to men.
• Men with low testosterone levels can experience a decrease in bone mass.
• Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use.
• Eating disorders and other diseases. People who have bulimia or anorexia are at risk for bone loss.
• Age: As you age, your bones become thinner and weaker .
• Use of certain medications are damaging to the bones.
The Healthy Bone Formula
To keep your bones healthy, start as soon as possible. Here are some guidelines to help keep your bones healthy:
• Eat high-calcium foods. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium.
• Consume plenty of vitamin D.
• Avoid excess protein and sodium.
• Avoid smoking and limit alcoholic intake.
• Bone-boosting medications may be an option, after consulting with your physician.
• Women may consider hormone therapy. Estrogen, especially when started soon after menopause, can help maintain bone density, and this should be discussed with a physician.
• Exercise daily.
• When exercising, change your routine often to surprise your body and challenge your bones.
• Play sports and spend time outdoors. Challenge your body with movements that provide the impact necessary for bone stimulation.
Physical Therapy and Bone Health
Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that mainly focuses on the muscular and skeletal systems. Physical therapy in this field deals with diagnosing, managing and treating injuries in the muscular and skeletal system and the associated rehabilitation.
Physical Therapy specializes in the treatment of bone-related conditions (fractures) and joint injuries, among other conditions. Strength training, joint mobilizations, hot or cold packs, and electrical stimulation are some techniques used by physical therapists. Other methods include:
• Stretching and strengthening exercise protocols to encourage muscle balance during recovery.
• Hot and cold therapy to increase blood circulation and assist with healing.
• Ultrasound machines: The use of high or low frequency sound waves to facilitate healing.
Taking the time to strengthen your bones is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your recovery and to improve your health. Your healthcare professional can help you every step of the way.
Jeff Booher is a regular contributor for InjuReplay and owner of Peak Physical Therapy and Sports Performance located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Learn more about Jeff and his sports medicine background HERE.