Healthy Aging Starts with Healthy Habits

As we age, parts of our body slowly deteriorate, which can lead to swelling and pain.

“Senior patients need to realize that the aging process is normal, to start having aches, pains and stiffness in joints,” says Dr. David Morawski, a board-certified total joint surgeon with Fox Valley Orthopedics. “But when it really starts to affect the quality of your life and it starts to affect your mental well-being, then there are simple answers that we have that we can use to restore you to a very normal lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most disabling source of pain is arthritis, the inflammation of joints. When the pain becomes too much, it often stops people from living an active, healthy lifestyle. That, in turn, has a negative effect on health and wellness.

The good news is that there are many options. Sometimes anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can stave off pain; other times, cortisone injections or hyaluronic acid supplements can help lubricate the joints, which results in less discomfort and more mobility.

Newer injection therapies are available, too, though they’re not covered by insurance, says Morawski.

For doctors like Morawski, the goal is to achieve better mobility, because that keeps joints healthy.

Eating well is also key. Morawski encourages patients to avoid gluten, caffeine and alcohol, which are all inflammatory, and instead focus on foods that help your body. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and there are plenty of vegetables that promote healthier joints. A healthy diet can also help to reduce excess weight, which also affects joints.

When pain occurs despite proactive measures, it’s time to see a specialist.

“When you notice more difficulty going up and down stairs or putting your shoes and socks on, come see us,” Morawski says. “A lot of times, the first thing we notice in patients who have bad hips is they can’t rotate their hip high enough to get their shoes and socks on. Those are little cues that you might have a hip problem, or if you can’t go down the stairs, you have a knee problem.”

Fox Valley Orthopedics has locations in Algonquin, Barrington, Elgin, Geneva and Yorkville. Call (630) 584-1400 to schedule an appointment.