LIVING WELL

Protecting Your Joints

In the course of each day, sore, damaged joints may be taxed by all of the activities you must perform just to maintain a home, prepare a meal, perform a job, practice good hygiene or complete your daily tasks. We stress our joints each time we walk, lift, grip, hold, twist, cut, write, reach, brush, bend or stir. By knowing how to protect our joints, however, we can use them in ways that avoid excess stress.

Here are a few things you might try:

  • Pay attention to joint position. This means using joints in the best way to avoid excess stress on them, such as using larger or stronger joints to carry things. For instance, you might carry bags by using your forearms or palms instead of your fingers.
  • Use assistive devices. Devices, such as canes, crutches and walkers, can reduce stress on your hips and knees. Ballpoint pens with built-up handles can protect finger joints and make it easier to write. Long handles and reachers may spare shoulders when you need an item from a high shelf. Lightweight items, such as paper cups or plastic dishes, are easier to carry, and lightweight appliances, such as small, light vacuum cleaners, are easier to maneuver, making it easier to keep house. For more information about assistive devices you can order a copy of the Arthritis Foundation Buyer’s Guide by calling (800) 283-7800. Additionally, the Arthritis Foundation has an Ease of Use program that recognizes products and product packaging that are easy to use by people with arthritis and carry the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use commendation logo.
  • Control your weight. Excess pounds add excess stress to joints of the knees, hips and feet. If you have knee osteoarthritis, losing weight may spare your joint some stress and reduce pain.

Sourced from:
The Arthritis Foundation’s Guide to Managing Your Arthritis, by Mary Anne Dunkin, copyright ©2001, Arthritis Foundation.
For more information about ways to effectively manage your arthritis, or to purchase a copy of Guide to Managing Your Arthritis,
call (800) 283-7800.