Facilitating Health and Wholeness

Principles of Joint Protection

The main goals of joint protection are to improve the patient's ability to perform daily activities, prevent loss of function and facilitate successful adaptation to activities and schedules.*
The following principles are important in achieving these goals:**
  • Respect pain
  • Maintain muscle strength and joint range of motion
  • Use each joint in its most stable anatomic or functional plane
  • Avoid positions of deformity or forces in the direction of deformity
  • Use the strongest, largest joints available for the job
  • Ensure correct patterns of movement
  • Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time
  • Avoid activities that cannot be stopped immediately
  • Balance rest and activity
  • Reduce the force used in activities

This educational website contains information on Rheumatoid Arthritis, joint protection principles, energy conservation techniques and adaptive equipment.   

* Feinberg & Trombly 1995, Occupational Therapy for Physical Dysfunction; Melvin, 1989, Rheumatic Disease in the Adult and Child
** Cordery & Rocchi, 1998, Rheumatologic Rehabilitation: Assessment and Management; Melvin 1989, Rheumatic Disease in the Adult and Child.

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