Athletes are usually in great physical condition. Until, that is, they get injured. Getting injured is just a part of being an athlete; it comes with the territory. Unfortunately, so does joint pain.
Joint pain in athletes can manifest in a number of ways. It can come as acute pain caused by inflamed joints. This is where tennis elbow, runner’s knee, golfer’s elbow and other common joint complaints come from. It can come in the form of chronic pain; constantly achy joints resulting from years of abusing and neglecting the joints. Think of weightlifters, wrestlers and distance runners who seem to live with perpetual knee and back pain.
Tahnkfully, things don’t have to be this way. In this article, we’re going to lay out the most effective joint supplements for athletes. We’ll discuss why athletes need the best joint supplements, how these supplements help athletes better manage their joint health, and how you can start naturally strengthening your joints today. If you’re an athlete struggling with joint pain, please get in touch in the comments at the end.
Why do athletes need joint supplements?
Most athletes stand to benefit enormously from joint supplements. There’s just no two ways about it. Joint supplements are great for athletes both in terms of enhancing performance and reducing injury frequency. Many athletes find that using joint supplements on a regular basis helps them throughout their careers, often in ways that other people simply don’t see; at least not in the same way they might see the results of other sports performance enhancers! But while the benefits of high quality joint supplements aren’t always obvious, athletes know that they are a vital part of a comprehensive supplement regimen.
Flexibility & Strength
For starters, joint health supplements can increase mobility, flexibility and strength. By promoting bone density, decreasing enzymatic cartilage erosion, and bolstering synovial fluid, high-spec joint supplements can actually make athletes more flexible, more agile, and more mobile.
Because the best joint supplements make your connective tissues stronger and makes them better at recovering from damage, they can help you get stronger over time (since connective tissues will be less of a limiting factor).
But the most important way a joint supplement can help athletes is by promoiting healthy joints over the long-term, preventing joint injuries and suppressing joint pain.
Injury & Recovery
Joint pain is one of the most frustraing things an athlete can experience. Severe, acute joint pain can make training or competing impossible. Even when it isn’t debilitating, joint inflammation reduces joint function, distracts you during training, and can completely ruin your performance in competition. Weak connective tissue reduces maximum strenght output, and stiffness means you don’t have the flexibility to match your competition.
To make things worse, damaged joints and connective tissues are incredibly difficult to fix. Your body repairs joint tissue very slowly; in older people, joint damage may never be fully repaired. Even in young, healthy athletes, joints may never return to 100% mobility, strength and flexibility after a serious injury or chronic damage.
Obviously then, for an athlete, joint injuries are something to be avoided like the plague. Even mild joint pain can derail your training, while a serious injury to joint tissue can end a career. This is why using high-quality joint supplements is so important for athletes.
The best joint supplements can naturally reduce joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. This can go a long way to helping you actively recover with light training, helping you get back to 100% training capacity a lot faster.
But more importantly, joint supplements designed for athletes can promote joint health and help prevent joint injuries from happening in the first place. Professional, top-tier joint supplements keep joints healthy by supporting connective tissue maintenance, boosting bone strength, and preventing cartilage damage over the long-term. All of this combines to make injuries significantly less likely and less severe when they do happen.
How do athletes strenghten joints naturally?
Aside from using natural joint supplements designed specifically for athletes, there are a number of things you can do to strengthen your joints. Some of the most important things you can do to strengthen your joints are general; they help make all your joints stronger at once.
The most effective ways to naturally strengthen your joints include:
- Lose weight
- Build muscle to support joints
- Do low-impact cardio
- Stretch before and after exercise
- Eat more calcium from plant sources
- Avoid inflammatory foods, alcohol and tobacco
- Eat a low-fat, plant-based diet
- Reduce stress
- Get more sleep
Even employing a few of these tactics can go a long way to strengthening your joints and promoting healthy joints over the long-term. They predominantly work by reducing systemic inflammation, which is known to contribute greatly to the development and severity of arthritis.
There are also different things you can do to specific joints to make them stronger.
An effective way to naturally strenghten the knee joint is to do wall squats. Studies show that wall squats help reduce knee injuries in older people. To do a wall squat, stand with your back flush against a wall, feel shoulder width apart, and slowly lower yourself until you are in a seated position. Hold that for one second, then slide back up.
Other bodyweight movements like pressups and pullups help keep your elbow and shoulder joints strong. To keep your shoulder and hip joints strong and injury free, try and do low-impact resistance exercise like walking, bicycling, and swimming at least once per week.
Most Effective Natural Supplements For Joint Pain & Flexibility
So what are the most effective joint supplements for athletes? Which natural supplements can athletes use to speed up recovery, promote flexibility and avoid injuries?
Below is our list of the best joint supplements for athletes right now. Using these natural substances should help you keep healthy joints while suppressing chronic pain resulting from the breakdown of cartilage common in athletes.
Chondroitin is probably the single best joint supplement for athletes in existence. Any joint supplement sold as being good for joint pain relief, injury recovery and long-term joint strength needs to contain a decent serving of chondroitin. Chondroitin is a compound which wraps around your cartilage. It is water absorbant; it pulls water into cartilage, keeping it strong, lubricated and able to absorb shocks.
Studies show that supplementing with chondroitin is highly effective at reducing joint pain, particularly joint pain associated with joint cartilage breakdown. It seems to promote cartilage repair as well as helping maintain cartilage damage. As such, it is currently being researched as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis (caused by joint cartilage breakdown). More work is needed, but early results look promising! This is a must-use for athletes.
MSM is a fundamental building block of many compounds vital for the creation of connective tissues. MSM is needed to make collagen, cartilage, and chondroitin itself. As such, it is needed to maintain healthy joints and to repair joints following damage.
However, the main reason we recommend supplementing with MSM is that it has a powerful synergistic effect when taken with chondroitin and glucosamine. Multiple clinical trials have found that MSM, Chondroitin and Glucosamine, when taken together, have a significant effect on osteoarthritis symptoms. Athletes are at high risk of developing osteoarthritis, so supplementing with MSM alongside glucosamine and chondroitin is a very good idea to protect your joints before they get damaged.
Glucosamine is a common ingredient in professional-quality joint supplements, and so it should be. Glucosamine is actually one of the main active ingredients in most joint supplements, doing the bulk of the work along with chondroitin. Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a fundamental building block of all the most important connective tissues: tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the synovial fluid that surrounds your joints.
Clinical studies show that taking dietary supplements with large doses of glucosamine helkps reduce arthritis pain, promotes collagen synthesis, and increases joint strength by boosting shock absorption. Glucosamine actively promotes chondrocyte cells which repair cartilage tissue. This makes it the ideal joint supplement for athletic injury recovery.
Selenium is not a common ingredient in joint supplement stacks, but it really should be. Selenium is a vital nutrient needed to form various different enzymes and proteins throughout the body. In terms of promoting joint health, selenium has a couple of different functions. Selenium acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting joint tissues from toxin-induced damage. It also reduces systemic inflammation, helping to prevent joint swelling, aches and irritating. There is some evidence that selenium may help promote cartilage production, but much more research is needed here.
While there may be some disagreement about how selenium works, there is no real disagreement over the fact that it does work. Clinical studies have found that selenium helps people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and joint pain associated with injury.
Finally, we come to turmeric. This ingredient in used in almost every joint strength supplement and natural joint pain reliever on the market today. There’s good reason for this – turmeric works, and ti works well. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Supplementing with curcumin-rich turmeric extracts reduces inflammation at your joints, thereby easing joint pain and improving mobility.
Turmeric is a great preventative measure for people who regularly do high impact activities such as weight lifting, MMA or trail running.People who do high-impact activities on a regular basis are more likely to experience symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric has been shown to help people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Do Different Types of Athletes Need Different Joint Stacks?
Should you be looking for a specific joint supplement based on the sport that you play?
This is a very good question. The answer is, broadly speaking, no. There is no need for you to use joint supplements designed specifically for your sport. A well balanced, comprehensive joint supplement will help reduce joint pain and stiffness in everyone. The best joint supplements also provide long-term joint health support regardless of what you’re putting your joints through.
So whether you’re a runner, a weightlifter or a bodybuilder, the most effective joint supplement overall is the one you are better off using. To really understand why this is the case, let’s look at different types of athletes and why they might need joint supplements.
Joint Supplements For Runners
This one should be completely obvious. Of all the athletes out there, distance runners are probably the ones that put their joints – especially their knees and hips – through hell. The reason for this is that few other athletes train for such long periods of time and with such consistency. A typical training week for a professional distance runner might involve an hour and a half of running every morning with an hour of dedicated strength or speed training of an evening. When you consider that the hour or two of training in the morning consists of non-stop pounding against pavement or firm ground, it’s easy to see why runners get bad knees (also known as runner’s knee).
There are some specific supplements for runner’s knee that you may want to consider if you put in serious miles every single week. One great supplement for runner’s knee is glucosamine. This amino sugar is a fundamental building block of your joint tissues. Studies show that taking glucosamine can slow down joint tissue erosion, which would help protect against runner’s knee or running-induced joint pain.
Joint Supplements For Bodybuilders & Weightlifters
Like runners, both bodybuilders and weightlifters (and strongmen and powerlifters for that matter) put their joints through an incredible amount of stress on a regular basis. Whereas runners tend to subject their joints to a slow, relentless but moderate pounding over the course of several hours a day, a bodybuilder or weigthlifter subjects their joints and tendons to an enormous amount of strain for very short periods of time.
For this reason, we typically recommend that bodybuilders and weightlifters use a joint supplement that contains chrondroitin. Using chrondroitin is the single best way to strengthen and support cartilage. This is crucial for athletes who do a lot of heavy resistance training, as their cartilage wears down a lot over time. Studies show that using chrondroitin long-term helps reduce the occurence of cartilage injuries which can ruin a weightlifter’s career!
Joint Supplements For Older Athletes
Older athletes, or older people who had a long sports career, should strongly consider using the same joint supplements that younger athletes use as they provide all of the same benefits that older adults are looking for from a joint support supplement. However, there are a few thins that older athletes need to look out for when choosing the best joint supplement for them.
For older athletes, selenium is a particularly important joint supplement ingredient. Years of intensive training and competition can leave your joints chronically inflamed and irritated. Selenium, as a powerful antioxidant and antiinflammatory, helps reduce chronic joint pain resulting from sustained inflammation. There is also evidence that it can help promote cartilage regrowth, making it invaluabl for athletes with longstanding cartilage injuries.
#1 Best Joint Supplement For Athletes: Physio Flex Pro
So what is the single best joint supplement stack for athletes today?
The answer is, in our opinon, pretty obvious – it’s Physio Flex Pro.
Physio Flex Pro is the best joint supplement on the market today. It is the only joint supplement with physiotherapist backing. Physio Flex Pro was specifically designed to work alongside physiotherapy and injury recovery treatments while promoting greater joint strength and flexibility in athletes. While it is effective for older people struggling with joint pain and poor mobility, Physio Flex Pro is absolutely ideal for younger, active people and competitive athletes looking to minimize injuries and optimize training.
We recommend reading our detailed review of Physio Flex Pro before buying to learn more about its ingredients and dosages. Of course, even the best joint supplement wont work unless combined with lifestyle and diet factors that promote healthy joints going forward.