Joint Protection

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Following basic rules to protect your joints can lower your pain and make everyday activities more enjoyable.

Body Position

  • Change positions often. If you are standing for a long time, shift your weight from one foot to the other every few minutes. If you are sitting for a long time, move your arms and legs to a different angle every few minutes. Take breaks to stretch.
  • When grasping items with handles, grip them softly.

Tools Make Jobs Easier

  • Use a step-stool to help you reach overhead.
  • Use wide pens and handles.
  • Use rubber grip pads to help open jars and cans.


  • Keep all homework supplies in one area.
  • Store frequently used items in easy-to-reach areas.

Pain and Tiredness

  • Pay attention to how you are feeling.
  • Plan rest breaks.
  • Use heat for pain relief for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Try a heating pad, a warm wet towel, paraffin, or warm rice bag. Be sure to follow all safety precautions for any heating items you choose.


  • Do your most important activities first.
  • Finish homework before video games.
  • Finish chores before texting or using the computer.


  • Splints can help keep joints comfortable during sleep.
  • Splints can stretch tight joints.
  • Splints stabilize joints that easily over-stretch.
  • Ask your doctor or therapist if splints may be helpful for you.

Exercise Programs

  • Exercise can help joints move easier and decrease pain.
  • Stronger muscles help take stress off joints.
  • A therapist can help you find an exercise program that is just right for you.
  • If a certain exercise causes more pain or stiffness, stop doing it until you can speak with your therapist personally about it.

Joint Protection (PDF)

HH-IV-151 6/02 Revised 1/15 Copyright 2002 Nationwide Children's Hospital