Ask a Trainer: Is Working Out Damaging My Joints?

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Hi Deanna, Why am I getting calcium or bony build up in my fingers from working out (I am a yoga instructor)? Does this occur in other forms of training? Is it a problem? My doctors are not being helpful; meanwhile, my fingers are increasingly painful. From Yogababe

 Dear Yogababe,
I am no stranger to joint pain and inflammation. I have been managing a low back injury, piriformis syndrome, and tendonitis in my wrist for almost a year now. It sounds like you have not had much luck with your doctor visits. Here is some information I have received in the past from my physio therapist and a client who is a radiologist.

Joint pain can happen for several reasons and can range from mild to completely unbearable, leaving you unable to perform simple daily activities. Your joints connect your bones and provide support while your body is in motion. If you’ve had damage to your joints, you can experience chronic excruciating pain. Joint pain can happen for many reasons such as sprains, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or as a result of an injury.

Typically, the most common reason you experience joint pain in your knees, hips, hands, and ankles is from overuse. This can be from excess activity that your body is not used to. You may experience pain in your joint during certain activities, like weight-bearing exercises or just from walking. As soon as you stop these activities, your joints may not ache as much. However, if you continue to ignore the aches during and after activities, the damage is still done. If the damage is bad enough, it can be irreversible, also known as arthritis. Arthritis occurs when one or more of your joints are inflamed.

When is it time to seek medical attention? First, you must specifically note what pains you are feeling, where you are feeling them and when you are feeling the pain. If you’ve had the aches and pains for several weeks or months, it would be wise not to hesitate any longer to see your physician. Your physician will evaluate your pain, and depending on how long you’ve had damage, may recommend different treatment options. The most common treatments you can do on your own are strengthening the surrounding muscles to help the joint bear the force more easily. Another common treatment is weight loss. I know this is not Yogababe’s issue, but If you’re overweight — even just a little overweight — you are putting stress on your joints.

Can you take medicine to help ease the pain? The best medicine to take are NSAIDS (Nonsteriodal Anti-inflammatory Drugs), such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen and naproxen.

I have also found some information about calcium deposits online: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/bone-calcium-deposits-potential-causes-and-treatments.html

 Bone calcium deposits occur when your body doesn’t get enough calcium from your diet and begins to take calcium from your bones to make up for the deficit. While 98% of the calcium in your body is found in your bones and teeth, the remaining 2% is absorbed into the blood and pumped around the body, where it helps with digestion, cell division and circulation. If you don’t get enough dietary calcium or enough exercise, bone calcium deposits can form in your tissues and organs; over time, bone calcium deposits can contribute to osteporosis, cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases.

Calcium deposits can form when a bone is damaged or placed under stress. The body sends extra calcium minerals to the damaged area to help repair it. These minerals travel to the stressed or damaged bone through your blood stream. If your body’s signals aren’t functioning correctly due to a calcium deficiency, then extra calcium may build up around the damaged area. Over time, this extra layer of calcium hardens into a deposit. The deposit may pinch tendons and nerves, causing pain.

A calcium deficiency can cause your body to remove calcium from the bones and send it other areas of the body, where it’s needed to help with digestion, regulating cell division and maintaining adequate blood circulation. So one possible treatment could be consuming foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, broccoli, kale, edamame, bok choy, collard greens, figs, oranges, sardines, white or baked beans, okra, tofu, and almonds.

Since I do not know Yogababe’s health history or nutrition habits, this is the best I can do for assisting her and her issue. I hope this helps even a little!

 Fitbabe
Deanna Harder: Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor
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About fitbabe

Deanna Harder is a college-certified, highly knowledgeable personal trainer, with over ten years of experience. In addition to running her own business in Edmonton, she has competed in four figure competitions, and is always stage ready. Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer)

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