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Aspirus Shares Spring Tips for Knees and Hips

People are eager to return to their favorite outdoor activities as spring brings warm sunny days to Upper Michigan. Before heading back outside, it is important to remember that you might need some time for your body to get used to your new outdoor exercise regimen.

Most injuries typically occur when starting a new sport season or routine because our bodies are not used to the amount and type of exercise we are doing,” said Douglas Tice, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Aspirus Health. “But even if you have had a previous total hip replacement or a knee surgery, exercise is possible and beneficial if you take extra care and keep your movement limitations in mind.”

To keep your knees and hips feeling their best when you move your workout outdoors, Aspirus has the following tips:

Tread cautiously:  Be aware of variations of ground surfaces that could contribute to a fall or injury. People with joints that may be unstable from previous injuries should be extra cautious when exercising on uneven roads or paths. Hard surfaces will also place more strain on your knees compared to softer surfaces.

Start slowly:  Ease back into your outdoor routine or you could risk an overuse injury, especially to knees and hips. If you have not been active over the winter, do not push yourself to make up for lost time. The best way to start a new exercise program is to gradually ramp up your activity level.

Switch it up: Try mixing up your routine. If you like running or walking, you might try biking or strength training. A variety of exercises will help build muscles and strengthen joints, which can help reduce your chance of injury, and keep your workout more interesting.

Just get moving: Even if you are someone with the common symptoms of arthritis, it is important to keep moving. Regular low-impact exercises can help relieve joint pain.

“Overall, the benefits of regular exercise greatly outweigh most risks. When you build flexible, strong muscles around your knees and hips, it helps to ensure your joints are well-supported,” Dr. Tice said.

Experts recommend that you see an orthopedic specialist when the pain or discomfort is making your everyday activities difficult, when the pain lasts longer than a few weeks, when you notice a decrease in your range of motion or if you are unstable when walking.

Aspirus provides access to quality orthopedic specialists, from board certified orthopedic surgeons to physical therapists, throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Ironwood, Iron River, Houghton and Laurium. To learn more, visit aspirus.org.