This question was submitted by R.F. who asks, “Do you have any advice for joint care, cartilage depletion, or supplements for joint recovery?”
Joint pain is no stranger to most of us. What is typically less apparent, however, is the cause of the pain. We often look for a cure before asking the underlying reason for joint pain. In some cases, it’s easy to determine the cause – trauma, damage to the joint, and certain medical conditions can lead to pain and stiffness. But one area we typically overlook is muscular balance.
Remember, the joints act as hinges between bones that are moved by muscle activation. Muscular imbalances and weaknesses can cause problems with activation and lead to joint pain, particularly in the ankle, knee, hips, or lower back. Gray Cook explains this concept well in the Joint by Joint Theory.
Assuming muscular imbalances have been addressed, supplementation can also be useful in dealing with joint pain. Livestrong.com provides a good commentary on joint pain and discusses some top rated joint supplements. In this, and another article, they list several supplements to consider. In my experience, the most effective supplements for joint pain (particularly in the knee) are glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements can be purchased as a single tablet over the counter.
I recommend first going to a medical expert to verify that your pain is indeed isolated to the joint and that there is no underlying problem. You should also conduct a simple squat test to determine whether muscular imbalances exist. This test can be administered by a personal trainer or physical therapist. If you decide to take supplements, be sure to also address the reason behind your pain.