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Joint supplements?

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Posts: 4,848
3/24/13 4:46 P

I take glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM for my joints. It's the only supplement I take, I'm not into supplements in general. But I take that one because I am involved in a sport that is VERY joint-involved, and also because I have mildly damaged my left wrist ligament, and I want to do what I can to keep my joints healthy now that I know what THAT feels like (not very much fun!).

I don't necessarily "believe" that it works. But I figure that it's worth the try. Ligaments are an unfortunate body part in that they don't seem to repair themselves. They can be replaced if they are completely destroyed but usually we just have to bumble along with our damaged ligaments. Even if the supplements don't help at all, the act of taking something for joint health every single day actively reinforces in my mind the "take good care of your joints" philosophy. So I am much more aware of my joints now.

Another thing I do - again on the advice of my orthopedic surgeon - is strength training exercises for the small and large muscles surrounding the joints. Strong shoulder muscles, strong forearm muscles, strong quads and hamstrings, strong hip flexors, etc etc -- these support joints in a way that I doubt any supplement can. By strengthening your muscles, your joints are spared a lot of the work. So my advice would be to make sure that you are paying good attention to a serious and balanced strength training program parallel with your running program. You may find this to be more preventative than the supplements. Bear in mind, however, that muscles get stronger much more quickly than ligaments, tendons, and bones -- this means that you can actually damage your joints by increasing weight too fast when doing strength training. It's important to have a balance between strengthening the muscles to protect the joints on the one hand, and protecting the joints by not over-doing it with the muscles on the other.

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3/24/13 3:55 P

Agreed. As another young arthritis sufferer, running has improved my symptoms... NOT exacerbated them.

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3/24/13 3:33 P

Gevan, I have to disagree with your last statement. Studies have found that running does not increase the likelihood of arthritis -,

And to give some context, I am 39, have been running for the past three years, including over two dozen races in lengths from the 5k to the marathon (and hope to do an ultra some day). I run 5-6 days a week. And oh yes - I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 24. My knees feel better now than they did when I was in my 20s.

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3/24/13 2:18 P

I strongly believe in joint supplements and so does my ortho. I have arthritis and started taking them at around 35. You're very young, but they can't hurt. They are natural supplements and yes, pounding the pavement will lead to arthritis in most people.

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3/24/13 11:25 A

Your doctor would honestly be the best person to ask. While everyone has their own opinion on what may or may not help, what it comes down is this is a decision best made a trained medical professional. :)

There are no major studies that show that running causes osteoarthritis, the most common concern with distance runners.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are the two most people consider, but realistically, I wouldn't take either until you've discussed them with your doctor. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that they help, little that they hurt, but I'm not a fan of using your body like a guinea pig. ;)

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3/24/13 10:53 A

I'm currently 23 (almost 24) and started running a little over a year ago. For the past few weeks I've started seriously training for a half-marathon in May (I'm following Hal Higdon's Half-Marathon training plan Novice 1). I was wondering if it would be a good idea to take some sort of joint supplement. I know I'm still young but osteoporosis runs in my family and I want to avoid joint problems down the road.

Any suggestions?

Also- any general suggestions for my first Half? I'm super nervous! I wish I had picked an easier race for my first big one. This one is really hilly so I know it's going to be very challenging.

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