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Looking after your joints

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What is a joint and how does it work?

A joint is where two or more bones meet and is made up of a number of different parts that all work together so that we can bend, stretch, twist and turn easily within certain limits. Read more >

Why do joints ache and hurt?

Causes of joint pain can include:
  • inflammation inside or around your joints
  • worn or damaged cartilage
  • extra activity or pressure on your joints
  • referred pain.
Read more >

Why do joints become damaged?

If you have arthritis, your bones and cartilage may be damaged and your muscles may weaken, causing your joint to become unstable. This means that your joints may slip out of shape and cause deformities.

In rheumatoid arthritis, your ligaments may become stretched and slack because of repeated inflammation in the lining of your joint. These changes may start quite early in the condition.

In osteoarthritis, knobbly fingers (Heberden’s nodes and Bouchard’s nodes) are common types of deformity. You may also notice reduced movement and pain at the base of your thumb.

Read more >

Protecting your joints

Try the following tips to help protect your joints:

  • Keep an eye on the actions you do. Can they be done differently?
  • Have short breaks during or between tasks.
  • Try using a splint.
  • Use your stronger joints to support weaker ones.
  • Be aware of your position or grip style and change them if necessary.
Read more >

How do I start to use joint protection techniques?

Starting to use joint protection techniques can mean changing the habits of a lifetime. It’s a good idea to change things bit by bit – start with something that’s causing you most pain. Read more >

Avoiding tiredness

If you have arthritis, you may feel tired, which can make your joints and muscles ache more. These tips will help you to avoid tiredness:
Read more >

Keeping fit and healthy

Keeping fit and healthy is an important part of looking after your joints. You can do this by:
  • exercising regularly to keep your muscles strong and joints moving
  • eating a healthy diet – a Mediterranean-style diet is good for providing all the nutrients and vitamins you need
  • taking care of your body, especially your feet.
Read more >
For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.