Your physician and physical therapist want to prevent further wear and tear on your joints, and prevent or delay the need for joint replacement surgery. That’s where S.A.V.E. Your Joints comes in.

Situate your environment.

Arrange your environment so it helps protect your joints. Spend as little time as possible kneeling and squatting. Store heavy and frequently used items at or above waist-level. If you must lift something heavy, use good body mechanics.

Avoid further wear and tear on your joints.

Protecting your joints from further deterioration is the ultimate goal. Use a stool instead of squatting, and carry objects on the side of your painful joint. Whenever you can, site while you do household chores, and use a cane or similar devise on the opposite side of your painful joint on days it’s really troubling you.

Vary your joint position frequently.

Don’t put your joints in extreme positions for long periods of time. When you can, place yourself in a position of "joint comfort" to allow to keep your joint healthy and improve blood flow. To achieve this, sit upright with both feet flat on the floor in front of you. Keep your knees relaxed and move them frequently. Don’t keep your knees in extreme positions (bent or straight) while you’re sitting. Put a pillow between your knees if you’re lying on your side, and don’t cross your legs or sit with one leg curled beneath you. 

Exercise safely and regularly.

Maintaining an active lifestyle or adding an exercise program can help increase your energy level, improve your flexibility and increase your strength. Low-impact exercise such as walking or swimming is the best exercise for protecting your joints.

Before you increase your activity or add an exercise program, talk to your doctor. If she clears you for exercise, she might also recommend a physical therapy evaluation.

This information is supplemental and to be used in conjunction with your doctor and physical therapy visits. It is not intended for use as a substitute for seeking medical advice.