Taking care of your joints
When you have avascular necrosis AVN it is important to look after the affected joints and also to protect your other good joints. This might mean learning new ways of carrying out everyday tasks to reduce the stress on all your joints.
To protect your joints you should:
- Pace yourself throughout the day.
- Notice which actions and movements worsen the pain.
- Avoid straining joints by doing things awkwardly.
- Avoid being in one position for a long time.
- Keep active with exercise, but balance any activity with rest.
- Try to stick to a healthy weight.
Practical changes at home and at work
Depending on the joint or joints affected, to protect your joints from collapse you should consider how you carry out everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and going to work. There are some simple changes you can make to minimise the risk of damaging your good joints.
- Sit down whenever possible, taking the weight off your legs and hips.
- However, try not to sit in the same position all day – take regular breaks and move around.
- Walk with the aid of a stick or crutches can give considerable relief to AVN weight-bearing joints, there is nothing wrong with using mobility aids.
- Consider using a wheelchair for extended mobility, rather than put additional strain on your joints.
- Spread the weight of an object over many joints – use both hands to carry your shopping or use a shoulder bag or backpack.
- Shift rather than lift items – example slide heavy pans along a kitchen unit.
An occupational therapist can assess you in your home or workplace and suggest simple adaptations to the way you do things to reduce the chances of damaging your joints. They can also suggest special equipment that you can buy to make some tasks easier.
Swimming is good for you
Maintaining muscle strength is very important, for example, if your left knee or hip is affected by AVN, the body automatically protects itself by altering the gait by introducing a limp. This limp means that the right side then takes over as much as it can, muscles on the left can quickly start to lose their tone. Muscle loss can occur very quickly.
To overcome this a regime of exercise must be taken.
Strengthening exercises help strengthen the muscles which support your joints.
The range of movements exercises maintains strength, good posture, and flexibility.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise.