NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative

Health Observances

October

October 12 to 20 Is Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week

What should I know about keeping my bones and my joints healthy?

Bones support you and allow you to move. They protect your brain, heart, and other important organs from injury. Bones also store nutrients like calcium, which help keep our bones strong, and then release them into the body when you need them for other uses. If you don’t keep your bones healthy, they can become weak and even break. Broken bones and fractures can be painful and even cause long-lasting health problems.

Joints are places where two bones in your body meet, such as your elbow or knee. Joints also have cartilage, which acts as a spongy shock absorber on the ends of the bones to prevent them from rubbing against each other. More importantly, your joints help you move and stay active.

How can I keep my bones and joints healthy?

  • Eat a balanced diet, while increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake. Dairy products, vegetables, eggs, and salmon are great additions to your diet.
  • Exercise to increase circulation in your joints and to maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can add pressure to your joints, often causing pain and swelling.
  • If you have a sore joint, you can use an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables on the sore spot.
  • Tell your health care provider if your pain is improving or worsening. He or she may have better treatment options that can help.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on keeping your bones and joints healthy, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

October Is National Physical Therapy Month

What should I know about physical therapy?

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, young and old. But it’s just as important to prevent injuries before they happen. Before you exercise, stretch to warm up, and try all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. If you have an injury, see a health care professional to find out if you need physical therapy.

How can physical therapy help me?

Physical therapy is usually a collaborative process between you and your health care provider.

  • Physical therapy can help you manage pain, recover from injuries, and maintain mobility as you age.
  • A physical therapy plan can also be designed based on your individual needs, challenges, and goals.
  • The physical therapy process allows you to participate in your own recovery and well-being. This can be very empowering.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on arthritis and related conditions, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.