Arthritis Physical and Occupational Therapy (cont.)
What Joint Protection Techniques Are Offered?
There are ways to reduce the stress on joints affected by arthritis while
participating in daily activities. Some of these include:
- Controlling your weight to avoid putting extra stress on weight-bearing
joints such as the back, hips, knees, and feet.
- Being aware of body position, using good posture to protect your back
and the joints of your legs and feet. When possible, sit down to do a job
instead of standing. Change position often since staying in one position for
a long time tends to increase stiffness and pain.
- Conserving energy by allowing for rest periods, both during the workday
and during an activity.
- Respecting pain. It is your body's way of telling you something is
wrong. Don't try an activity that puts strain on joints that are already
painful or stiff.
An occupational therapist can show you ways to do everyday tasks without
worsening pain or causing joint damage. Some joint protection techniques
- Using proper body mechanics for getting in and out of a car, chair or
tub, as well as for lifting objects.
- Using your strongest joints and muscles to reduce the stress on smaller
joints. For example, carrying a purse or briefcase with a shoulder strap
rather than with your hand.
- Distributing pressure to minimize stress on any one joint. Lifting
dishes with both palms rather than with your fingers and carrying heavy
loads in your arms instead of with your hands.
- If your hands are affected by arthritis, avoid tight gripping, pinching,
squeezing, and twisting. Ways to accomplish the same tasks with alternate
methods or tools can usually be found.
What Are Assistive Devices for Arthritis?
If you have arthritis, many assistive devices have been developed to make activities easier and less stressful for the joints and muscles. Your therapist can suggest devices that will be helpful for tasks you may find difficult at home or at work.
A few examples of helpful devices include a bath stool for use in the shower or tub, grab bars around the toilet or tub, and long-handled shoehorns or sock grippers. Your therapist can show you catalogs that have a wide variety of assistive devices.
WebMD Medical Reference
SOURCE:Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2010
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on September 20, 2010
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