Joint stability refers to the ability provided by the different skeletal structures around a joint to resist the forces acting on it. There are many different subsystems that ensure joint stability. These are the active, passive and neural subsystems. Each one plays an important role in joint health but sometimes the whole joint structure can become compromised.
The active subsystem is made up of cartilages, ligaments and tendons which enable movement of the joint. This includes ligament and bone growth before the articular surface and capsule are formed. Joints remain structurally stable when the components are in proper places and when structures such as ligaments are strong enough to resist any force acting on them.
It has been found that there is a decrease in joint stability with age and that there is a progressive decrease in the amount of time that muscles remain in a specific position. This means that there is an uneven distribution of forces throughout the body. There are two types of muscle fiber types: the fast-moving sarcoplasmic fibers (also known as fast-contracting fibers) and the slow-contracting enamel inclusions. Sarcoplasmic fibers are abundant in younger individuals and decrease with age, while enamel inclusions decrease with age and contribute to joint instability. Osteoarthritis and degenerative bone diseases can also affect the stability of the bones and can result in deformities.
As the body ages, joint stability decreases because the mechanical forces acting on the body do not get the same strength and effectiveness over time. With advancing age, joint stability declines as a result of deterioration in the articular surface of the joints and surrounding tissues. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that results from wear and tear on the joints and surrounding tissue. This can result in decreased mobility as the cartilage that is generally responsible for shock absorption, flexibility and strength is no longer available.
There are several ways to improve joint stability in older individuals. Exercises can be very beneficial. These exercises can be low impact and easy to perform, allowing seniors to maintain their independence while improving their health and ability to move freely. By engaging in cardiovascular exercise – meaning, exercises that build up and improve cardiovascular function, such as walking, swimming, bicycling, aerobic dancing, and other sports – an individual can increase their muscle tone, enhance endurance, and reduce risk of injury.
Individuals older than 50 years can experience reduced joint stability due to diminished articular cartilage. Due to aging, the articular cartilage is unable to provide support for the weight of the body and the increase in bodily weight leads to greater demands for strength and stability. Activities that involve repetitive motions or are demanding of upper body strength can result in joint deterioration, which may lead to an increased risk of injury and pain. Activities that involve repetitive motions, such as lifting, sitting, and walking can also be detrimental to stability.
Age and injury may have a profound effect on joint stability. The elderly are more likely to experience joint instability due to trauma, arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. Individuals who are obese are at a higher risk of joint injuries and are more likely to suffer from arthritis. Sports individuals are at a higher risk of suffering from an acute injury to their knee, ankle, or shoulder due to the repetitive motions that this profession requires. Weightlifters and basketball players are also at increased risk for injury-related damages to their tendons and ligaments.
If you are suffering from any type of acute joint pain, this is when joint health supplements are necessary to provide essential vitamins for joint health. With many on the market, learning about what ingredients help the most are key to selecting the best option for you. As always, talk to your doctor before trying a new supplement for joint health.
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