Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint problem which leads to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. It is also called a degenerative joint disease and affects the activities of daily life. However, self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients can help in managing the condition better.

Self-Care Tips For Osteoarthritis Patients

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the condition can be managed to reduce its impact in the day to day activities. Some of the effective self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients include the following,

Knowledge About the Disease. This is the first step is to know about the kind of disease bothering you. The diagnostic methods and the various treatment options should be explored well. Being aware of the dos and don’ts of the illness can avoid unnecessary aggravations and it forms an essential part of the self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients.

Be Active. Physical activity is obviously difficult for the patient suffering from osteoarthritis, but it is important to avoid the sedentary trap. A regular exercise routine can help cope with the pain and the limitations related to the disease. The exercise should be some aerobic exercise and strengthening exercises. If suffering from a flare-up, exercise can be stopped till the pain and discomfort is eased. This is one of the important self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients.

Eat Healthy. To ease the symptoms of arthritis a well-balanced diet is very necessary. Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C help relieve the pain. Healthy fats, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products, avocado, and healthy oils, all are good to keep the body healthy and active. As a part of the self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients, it is also important to have a nutritious and anti-inflammatory diet to keep joint inflammation at bay.

Lose Weight. Excess weight puts a strain on the joints of the lower limbs such as knees, spine, ankles, and feet. It is therefore important to keep a track on the increasing weight. The osteoarthritis patients become less active because of the pain and the discomfort, which leads them to put on weight. Which is why, it is important that they eat a healthy diet and do not put a stop on their activity. They can also make small changes in their daily eating schedule like eating smaller frequent portions. Maintaining ideal weight is one of the essential self-care tip for osteoarthritis patients, which also helps to keep joint pains away.

Sleep Well. A good night’s sleep helps reduce stress and fatigue and helps cope with the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

  • For a good sleep,
  • Try going to bed on time
  • Remove distractions from the room such as television, computer, and mobiles
  • Sleep on a comfortable bed
  • Keep a pillow beneath the legs to put off the pressure from the painful joints.
  • If the sleep still stays disturbed consult a doctor for the same.

Heat and Ice Packs. The hot packs improve the blood flow to the extremities and reduce pain, and the cold packs reduce swelling.

The hot and the cold pack give comfort to the patients who suffer from pain and swelling in the legs, which comes up after an exertion. Using these self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients can help in managing flare-ups and prevent worsening of complaints.

Comfortable Footwear. Ill-fitting shoes are a big time discomfort for even those not suffering from any joint condition. Osteoarthritis patients need to give an extra consideration while buying shoes because the shoes which offer poor support exacerbate the pain in osteoarthritis. Shoes specially designed for OA patients (orthotic shoes) are available. Also, orthotic inserts can be put inside the normal shoes to provide comfort to the patient.

Relax. Any disease suffering brings on a feeling of worry and dejection. Moreover, with osteoarthritis, as it causes difficulty in walking or performing day to day activities, many people experience some lack of confidence. Discomfort and pain in OA can lead to stress, which can worsen the pain. This makes it important to keep the mind stress free. You can start with yoga and some breathing exercises. Practicing meditation or indulging in your favorite hobbies also helps your mind relax.

The self-care tips for osteoarthritis patients work well in most cases and medical advice must also be followed religiously. Positive outlook plays a big role in how you feel and how well you function. Always think about your abilities, not the disabilities. This will keep you in a healthy state of mind and help you cope well with the disease.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 19, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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