Principles of Joint Protection for Arthritis

  1. Respect for Pain
    • Fear of pain can lead to unnecessary inactivity, while total disregard for pain can lead to unnecessary joint damage
    • Carry out activities and exercise only up to the point of fatigue or discomfort
  2. Rest and Work Balance
    • The most effective method to increase functional endurance is to rest before becoming exhausted
    • Take a 5 – 10 minute rest during activity
    • A good night’s sleep is needed for body restoration
  3. Reduction of Effort
    • Produces less stress and less pain to involved joints
    • Avoid excessive loads and heavy equipment
    • Try to slide pans, rather than carry them
    • Store items at appropriate heights
  4. Avoidance of Positions that Cause Deformity
    • Avoid fingers turning toward little finger side
    • Avoid a tight and prolonged grip or pinch; use built-up handles, card holders, or book stand
    • Avoid flexion and rotation of the wrist during activities such as stirring; hold items with a finger grip, like a dagger
    • Use two hands instead of one for carrying or lifting
    • Use hand in flat position when opening jar
  5. Use of Larger/Stronger Joints
    • Lift or carry with the forearm or shoulder rather than fingers
  6. Use Each Joint Its Most Stable, Anatomic Position
    • Avoid or minimize excessive stretch of joint ligaments. Example: Rise from a chair symmetrically and avoid leaning to either side
    • Maintain a good posture and proper work heights during work, leisure and rest
  7. Avoidance of Staying in One Position
    • To avoid muscle fatigue and stress on ligaments
    • Recommend change of position or stretch every 20 minutes
  8. Avoid Activities That Cannot Be Stopped
    • Continuing a task in the presence of sudden or severe pain is likely to cause joint damage
  9. Use of Assistive Equipment
    • Consider equipment such as a jar opener to protect joints from deformity and stresses

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