Is pain the signal that you are overdoing, and that you need to stop? Some pain is expected with activity for persons with arthritis. Can a person with arthritis know instinctively that pain means they are out of the boundaries of good joint protection technique?
On the other hand, they can protect their joints by doing an aerobic exercise such as swimming. Riding a stationary bike or even walking on a soft surface such as a track is better than the pounding that the hip and knees suffer with running.
For patients with arthritis involving the hands who experience discomfort with activities of daily living, consider such aids such as an electric can opener, adhesive foam or custom handles, pen or pencil holding devices, luggage carriers or house/car key adaptations.
Consider a one time consultation with an occupational therapist who can discuss the adaptive equipment available to protect your hands.
One good rule of thumb is that if you feel worse the day after you have done an activity or exercise, it is recommended that you change the exercise or decrease the time allotted.
Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of Anti-TNF Blockers. The book is a must-have for anyone on one of the biologic drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira) or considering the biologic drugs. Read my review of the book.