In the video above, certified hand therapist, Laura McCarthy explains the main principles of joint protection to alleviate joint pain and arthritis pain.
Do NOT Push Through the Joint Pain
In order to protect your joints, one of the most important things to do is to listen to the pain in your hands. When you feel pain, you should stop that activity if possible, or find another way to complete the activity that does not aggravate your joints. Aggravating the joint and working through the pain will only make things worse, not better. You want to respect and listen to the pain, and rest the joint if at all possible.
Avoid Stressing Your Joints
You want to avoid stressing the joint. Avoiding deformity and different stresses to the joint will help keep you pain free. One way to do this is to use the joint in a better position, such as making a fist to pinch, and to pick things up from the side. Anything that keeps the joints from pushing towards a deformity. The other important thing would be to wear your braces, especially for those with thumb arthritis.
Exercise to Keep Joint Pain Away
You also want to continue range of motion exercises. These help to keep your joints functioning. Make it a part of your routine to take a few minutes and gently move your thumb and fingers daily.
Find A Rest-Activity Balance
One of the most important things to do is to pay attention to your rest-activity balance. Instead of trying to do absolutely everything on a day when your hands feel great, divide up the tasks so that they can be done throughout the week. When you cram everything into one day, the next day will be a bad day due to overuse and fatigue. It’s like banking the use of your joints. Save some today, so tomorrow is better.
Set a Timer for Repetitive Tasks to Avoid Joint Pain
One thing that is stressful for arthritis joints is repetitive activities. This includes activities where you’re holding a position for a long time or doing a similar motion repeatedly. With these activities, we recommend setting a timer for 10-15 minutes and taking a break once the time goes off. If you can spread these tasks out throughout the day that will help as well.
Have you sustained an injury between or including your shoulder and fingertips? Do you suspect that your workplace environment is causing you pain? If so, you could be a candidate for hand therapy services at LB Hand Therapy in Maryland. Visit our Where to Begin page to become a patient.
Hi, I’m Laura McCarthy of LB Hand Therapy, and today we’re here to talk about joint protection, and energy conservation.
The first principal of joint protection is to respect pain. Pain often happens when a joint is inflamed, like your arthritis is acting up. First thing you want to do is not aggravate the pain, don’t work through the pain, you want to respect the pain, and actually rest the joint if you can.
Don’t Stress the Joint
Then the next thing you want to do is not stress the joint, so if the thumb is going into this kind of deformity, you don’t want to use the thumb like that. You want to try to avoid the different stresses to the joints that you can do by using the joints in a better position. Things like make a fist in order to pinch, because that gives the thumb a solid base of support. Instead of trying to pick something up like that, turn your hands on the side, and pick them up from the side. You want to try to not push the joints towards the deformity that they already want to go towards.
Continue Range of Motion Exercises
Then you want to try to keep the range of motion going, just gently, just actively, so with the thumb you would come up and down, and in and out, the fingers in and out, spread them apart. Just do daily range of motion just to keep the joints functioning at their optimal level of range.
And then the last thing we want to talk about is the rest, activity balance. People tend to have a good day with their arthritis, so they try to get everything done that they can get done, but you actually want to balance it, it’s sort of like how bank accounts, you wanna have some activities each day rather than trying to get everything done in one day. By doing everything in one day, the next day is gonna be a bad day, so we want to try to make as many days good days as possible by balancing out the amount of activity we do each day. So hopefully these tips will help.
Thank you for watching this video, I hope you found it helpful. If you need further information, please check our website at LBHandTherapy.com, and again thank you for watching.