Rock The Joint

YOUR KNEES, SHOUL­DERS, HIPS, AND OTHER JOINTS NEED TO LAST A LIFE­TIME. SO WHY DON’T THEY GET MORE RE­SPECT? HERE’S YOUR COM­PLETE GUIDE TO KEEP­ING THEM FUNC­TIONAL AND PAIN-FREE.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - HEALTH -

PUT DOWN THAT DUMB­BELL AND LIS­TEN UP: Mus­cles aren’t ev­ery­thing. “It’s your joints that make the whole body tick,” says Dou­glas Comeau, D.O., direc­tor of the Bos­ton Univer­sity Sports Medicine Fel­low­ship. But like any me­chan­i­cal sys­tem, they’re prone to wear and tear. And with­out well-func­tion­ing joints, it’s chal­leng­ing to add mus­cle, shed fat, or get any­thing done around the house. To main­tain them, you need to un­der­stand how they work and the threats they face. Here’s how to keep your six ma­jor joints jumpin’.

[TYPE OF JOINT: BALL-and-SOCKET]

Shoul­ders have an ex­cep­tional 360-de­gree range of mo­tion but a shal­low socket and rel­a­tively loose lig­a­ments. “What you gain in mo­bil­ity you lose in sta­bil­ity,” says Brian Sen­nett, M.D., chief of sports medicine and vice-chair of or­thopaedic surgery at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Health Sys­tem.

TOP THREAT: LABRAL TEAR WHAT IT IS:

Dam­age to the shoul­der labrum, a rim of fi­brous car­ti­lage that gives the shoul­der socket its cu­p­like shape. A labral tear makes it harder for the ball to stay seated in the socket, so dis­lo­ca­tion of­ten fol­lows.

CAUSE:

Usu­ally trauma—break­ing a fall with an out­stretched arm or dis­lo­cat­ing a shoul­der in an ac­ci­dent—but overuse from throw­ing or lift­ing can fray the labrum, too.

TREAT­MENT:

Re­hab can strengthen mus­cles and shore up sup­port­ing ten­dons to sta­bi­lize the shoul­der. If it doesn’t or there’s dan­ger of dis­lo­ca­tion, surgery is usu­ally needed to trim frayed or loose labral tis­sue or reat­tach the labrum to the socket.

DE­FENSE:

Do this sim­ple ex­er­cise: Stand to the right of a re­sis­tance band fas­tened at waist height. Hold­ing the end in your right hand, lock your right el­bow to your side and slowly ro­tate your arm out­ward, paus­ing in the fully ro­tated po­si­tion. Do 15 reps, then stand to the left of the band and ro­tate in­ward against re­sis­tance. Re­peat with your left arm.

FU­TURE-PROOF YOUR SHOUL­DERS:

Over­do­ing over­head mo­tions like swim­ming, throw­ing a base­ball, swing­ing a racket, or even paint­ing walls can re­sult in im­pinge­ment on your ro­ta­tor cuff, a group of mus­cles and ten­dons that cover the head of the up­per arm bone and hold the joint in place. This can cause the cuff to tear, es­pe­cially as ten­dons be­come weaker and stiffer with age. To pre­vent it, do this ex­er­cise: While stand­ing, lift a 1- or 2-pound dumb­bell to the side and about 30 de­grees for­ward with arm straight and thumb pointed down, like you’re pour­ing a beer. Do 15 reps per side. Ac­cord­ing to or­thopaedic sur­geon Ni­cholas DiNu­bile, M.D., this iso­lates and strength­ens the supraspina­tus mus­cles to sup­port the ten­don most of­ten dam­aged.

WATCH OUT!

A pop­u­lar im­pinge­ment surgery called sub­acro­mial de­com­pres­sion, which smooths bone spurs on the acromion, may not ac­com­plish much, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study in The Lancet. Pa­tients in 32 UK hos­pi­tals who got the arthro­scopic pro­ce­dure didn’t do any bet­ter than a con­trol group that had a sham surgery in which doc­tors scoped the shoul­der but didn’t fix any­thing. Both groups did only slightly bet­ter than peo­ple who re­ceived no treat­ment, lead­ing re­searchers to sug­gest that other treat­ments, such as re­hab, painkillers, and steroid in­jec­tions, may be more ben­e­fi­cial.

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