When you have
osteoarthritis, you may find it hard to do your daily
tasks. Your joints may ache or feel stiff, and they may hurt when you
move. You can do some things at
home to feel better.
Rest. If your
joints hurt a lot or are swollen, take a break. But try not to let too much
time pass before you get moving again. A lack of activity can cause your
muscles and joints to become weak.
Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on your
joints. But losing weight can help. And when even a small amount of weight loss is combined with exercise, it often works better to reduce pain and get the joint
working better again than if only weight loss or exercise is
people may be reluctant to exercise when they have arthritis, but it can help
reduce pain and improve balance. For example:
Walking and lifting weights can
help older adults who have arthritis improve their posture and balance, and
People who take part in an exercise
class and who also exercise at home have less pain when they walk. And they're
more likely to keep exercising even after the class ends.4
Try exercises that don't put a lot of stress on your joints, such as
swimming, biking, walking, water exercises, and lifting light weights. Make sure to talk to your doctor or physical
therapist about what kind of activity is best for you. For help getting active, see:
Use assistive devices and orthotics. There are devices and tools that can take
the stress and weight off of your joints and make it easier for you to hold
objects, open and close things, and walk. For example, doorknob
covers, tape, braces, splints, and
canes may help. Learn more about:
Protect your joints. There are some things that you can do to protect your joints.
Try not to do tasks that cause pain or swelling in joints.
Use the largest joints or strongest
muscles to do things. For example, when you lift a heavy object off the floor,
use your hip and knee muscles, not your back. Or when you carry a bag of
groceries, use the palm of your hand or your forearm instead of grasping it
with your fingers.
Change activities. If your joints hurt when you do an
activity, try other ways of doing it that don't cause pain. For example, walk
instead of jog. Or use a sewing machine to make a quilt instead of making it by hand.
Modify your home and work area. If you have a hard time moving around or if you get tired
easily, try making some changes in your home and work areas. For example,
use a reacher to pick up things off the floor. Or for tasks that you would
normally do standing up, use a tall stool instead so you can sit
Maintain good posture. Poor
posture puts stress on your back and neck. The key to good posture is to keep
the right amount of curve in your lower back. Too much curve (swayback) or too
little (flat back) can cause problems. Having good posture can help reduce
Wear comfortable and supportive shoes. If you have arthritis of the knee or back, wedged insoles or
cushioned shoes may help reduce the stress on the joint by shifting weight off
"Gardening books and magazines always have wonderful ideas and innovations that you can use. For instance, I've cut off sections of the rubber insulation that is used to cover water pipes and slipped them over any of the garden tools that I'm going to use, because it gives me a little more cushion and a little extra width for my tools."-Bev