Living with Arthritis

Joint Protection Tips - Reduce Arthritis Pain Banner

Losing just 1 pound may help your joint pain

If you’re overweight, dropping a few pounds can ease the pressure on your knees and hips.

And, of course, losing excess weight has lots of other health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases, increased energy, better sleep, improved mood, and much more.

Losing  1 pound  of body weight = Losing  4 pounds  of pressure on the knees

Keep Moving® strategies for effective weight loss

Clearing up portion distortion

When was the last time you had only a half-cup of ice cream on your cone? Or a spaghetti dinner with just a fist-sized serving of pasta? Believe it or not, these are standard portion sizes for these foods.

Meat Serving Size


(3 oz) = deck of cards

Fish Serving Size


(3 oz) = smartphone

Fruits and Vegetables Serving Size


= tennis ball

Bagel Serving Size


= hockey puck

Butter Serving Size


(1 tsp) = postage stamp

Salad Dressing Serving Size

Salad dressing

(2 Tbs) = 4 soda capfuls

Peanut Butter Serving Size

Peanut butter

(2 Tbs) = ping pong ball

Cooked Starch Serving Size

Cooked pasta/potato/rice

(1/2 cup) = small fist

To eat healthy, you have to understand serving size.

Calories 2 ways

You don’t need to go hungry trying to lose weight! In fact, there are ways to create bigger, more filling versions of your favorite meals without adding calories. One approach is to add more water-rich foods to your meals. Foods that have higher water content—such as fruits, vegetables, cooked grains, soups, and stews—usually pack fewer calories in each bite. Try building your meals around more of these foods and cutting back on some of the high-fat ingredients. The result? You can cut calories but still eat enough to feel satisfied.

320-calorie sandwich

Half Bologna Sandwich

Half of a bologna and cheese sandwich with mayo on white bread


Whole Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Whole sandwich with reduced-fat ham and cheese, mustard, higher-fiber bread—and fresh vegetables added

397-calorie salad

Small Chicken Ceasar Salad

Small conventional chicken Caesar salad


Large Chicken Ceasar Salad

Large chicken Caesar salad with lower-fat Caesar dressing, less cheese, more veggies, and high-fiber pita instead of croutons

330-calorie pasta

Small Serving Mac and Cheese

Small conventional macaroni and cheese


Large Serving Mac and Cheese

Large gourmet mac-and-cheese made with whole-wheat pasta, nonfat milk, reduced-fat cheese, and less butter—with veggies for added nutrients

By choosing the right foods, you can eat more–not less–and still lose weight.

Take more steps, burn more calories

Eating fewer calories is one way to lose weight. Burning more calories with physical activity is the other.

Activity can mean more than workouts or special exercises. In fact, you may already do a number of things that may not seem like “exercise” but that do burn calories, such as cleaning the house, walking the dog, even dancing! You may also want to try a wearable fitness tracker to see just how active you are each day!

Here are some easy ways to add more steps to your day:

  • Push your shopping cart around the outside aisles of the grocery store before shopping.
  • Walk around the room during TV commercials.
  • Circle the block each time you go out to get your mail.
  • Schedule walks to catch up with friends and socialize.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Pace while you’re talking on the phone.
  • Stroll around the airport or train station while you’re waiting.
  • Take a walk at lunchtime—even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  • Get off the bus before your usual stop.
  • Walk the kids to and from the school bus stop.
  • Park farther from building entrances.
  • Walk to coworkers’ desks rather than emailing.

Grab every chance to walk—even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll be burning more calories.

Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Joint Pain in the Future

If you do nothing to manage your arthritis, it usually gets worse over time. However, by making tiny changes to your most basic actions and by avoiding further joint injuries, you can help prevent more joint damage and pain.

Take “sitting” breaks

Both standing and walking put extra stress on your knee and hip joints. If you need to be on your feet for long periods, take sitting breaks. If you can, put your feet up.

Stand mindfully

People with a painful knee or hip joint often change the way they stand without realizing it. Over time, that can overstress other leg joints. Try to keep your feet hip-width apart when standing. Keep your weight even on both feet.

Save high heels for special occasions

Heels put added stress on your knees. Unfortunately, you won’t feel anything until the damage is done. If you love high heels, wear them for short periods on special occasions—not every day.

Change positions often

When you’re sitting for long periods, shift at least every 15 or 20 minutes to avoid muscle tension and joint stiffness. Major culprits: long trips, TV, and computer time.

Consider your sleep position

If you have arthritis in your hips, sleep on your back with your legs apart. Or if only one hip has arthritis, lie on the other side with a pillow between your knees.

Lift smart

Instead of bending at the waist or hips to pick up objects from the floor, use your leg and butt muscles to lift. When carrying a heavy object, hold it close to your body.

Use the strongest joints for the job

If you have arthritis in your fingers, push doors open with your forearm instead of your hand. Support your coffee mug with your palm. Opt for a backpack over a hand-held tote. Save weaker joints for tasks only they can accomplish.

Use knee and elbow pads

Whether you’re kneeling in the garden or rollerblading in the park, use cushions and safety pads to protect knees and elbows from strains and injuries. Hurting a joint increases your risk for developing arthritis in it.

Be the smart weekend warrior

At the end of a long workweek, it can be easy to overdo it when you’re having fun. If your body isn’t prepared for the weekend burst of activity, you could injure your joints. Plan ahead: Think about what your limits are, and do appropriate exercise to get ready.

Reminder: Talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes in diet, exercise, or medication.