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Indiana State Department of Health

ISDH Home > About the Agency > Health Information by Topic - A-Z >> > Arthritis > What We Can Do What We Can Do

Arthritis and Indiana:
Our State's Burden

 

Doctors and researchers now know the importance of self-management in enabling people with arthritis to live successfully with their disease. Studies have shown that people with arthritis can maintain or improve joint function and reduce pain by:

Protecting joints

For any motion, engage the strongest, largest muscles and joints possible. For example, lift a sack of groceries from the bottom with both hands and hold it close to the body instead of gripping the handle with one hand. Squat down to pick something off the floor instead of bending over from the waist. Change positions often to keep joints from getting stiff.

Using joints appropriately

Too often people’s reaction to aching or stiffness in their joints is to use them less. However, appropriate movement can help. Slow, gentle range-of-motion exercises lubricate joints and reduce stiffness. Strengthening exercises stabilize and protect joints by strengthening the muscles that surround them. Low-impact aerobic activities, like swimming, walking, and bicycling, increase circulation to the joints and promote general health. Individuals should consult with a health care provider for advice appropriate to their medical needs.

  • Losing excess body weight to reduce stress on weight-bearing joints

  • Learning more about “outsmarting” arthritis through self-management. Contact the Arthritis Foundation for more information

  • Programs that promote physical activity, appropriate weight maintenance and successful arthritis management are a good investment and should be made more available throughout the state

    Some forms of arthritis may be prevented altogether by:

  • Practicing sports injury prevention by first warming up, performing strengthening exercises, and using equipment properly. These strategies avoid damage to joints and soft tissue that can increase the risk of osteoarthritis

  • Reducing repetitive joint use at the work place

  • Losing excess body weight to reduce stress on weight-bearing joints

  • Arthritis prevention should be incorporated into sports and recreation education, work place education and well-being programs