Rheumatoid Arthritis: Joint Protection Program To Protect Your Joints 1

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints, causing biomechanical changes, pain even, thus, biomechanical forces that are externally driven such as low but repetitive trauma or stress, or even trauma can exacerbate a joint riddled with arthritis. For this reason, the joint protection program was conceptualised and further developed for our patients. The main goals of this program is to first and foremost prevent aggravation and secondly, to relieve pain and minimise deformity from occurring.

Principles for the joint protection are:

1. using adequate and correct body biomechanics to perform tasks eg using larger or stronger joints to perform activities, using the hips and knees for lifting objects rather than using the back, pushing objects instead of pulling, using a trolley instead of carrying heavy items etc

2. each task or activity is to be done in a stable position, eg when one is stable and standing balanced and squarely BEFORE lifting or pushing object, moving closer to an object before lifting it

3. spread the load over an area (P=F/A), the wider the area spread, the less the pressure, so using our forearms to support lifting a heavy object would be easier than to just carry it with pure fingers

4. use the full range of motion for joints when performing a task eg when cooking or cutting, to use the full range of the shoulders and elbows instead of just using elbow flexion-extension in a locked position to cut, that will induce more pressure on the elbow joint

5. to not participate in activities that encourage or aggravate the ulnar drift in the wrist eg cutting repetitively, using the scissors excessively, using small handles, wringing cloth etc

Since 2008, we have been providing physiotherapy and occupational therapy services to solve rehabilitation issues such as hands and upper limb injury rehabilitation; prevent, manage and rehabilitate falls in the elderly; rehabilitate patients with hip and knee fractures and replacements; as well as give talks and workshops to prevent back, neck and hand injuries at work since 2008. We do home physiotherapy as well.

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