Osteoarthritis – a degenerative disease that causes joint pain as a result of the thinning of the articular cartilage – is the most common form of arthritis. In Singapore, it affects an estimated 40 per cent of the adult population but only 10 per cent seek medical advice.

Ms Lin Ying Ying, Senior Occupational Therapist from the Department of Occupational Therapy at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares lifestyle tips that can help prevent joint pain and keep arthritis at bay.

1. Avoid positions that foster deformity such as:

Tight pinching

  • When writing, wrap your pen with foam to build it up for an easier grip.
  • When opening packages, use appropriate tools such as a pair of scissors instead of using your fingers.
  • When drinking, use a mug and wrap your hand around it for a larger, more stable grip. Avoid using cups with dainty handles, which can be difficult to hold.

Tight gripping

  • When picking kitchen utensils, choose those with large and soft handles as they’re easier to grip.
  • When opening a jar, using a nonslip mat on the cap will enhance your grip and decrease the stress on your finger joints.

Exerting excessive pressure on your joints

  • When lifting objects, always use both hands. If you’re lifting an object from below waist level, bend your knees and keep your back straight before lifting the object. If you cannot do it, the item is probably too heavy for you.
  • When carrying an item, hold it closer to the centre of your body and the joint that supports it. If you need both arms to carry an item, hold it close to your body instead of gripping its handles or sides with your fingers.
  • Don’t lift heavy objects above your head. Use a stool to reach for high, hard-to-reach places.
  • Use a trolley to move heavy, bulky objects.
  • Don’t try to pull anything forcefully with your fingers.

Read on for more arthritis prevention tips.​

Ref: R14