How Dehydration Affects the Joints

Tired Woman Sweating After RunningTired Woman Sweating After RunningTired Woman Sweating After RunningScottsdale_OrthopedicScottsdale_OrthopedicAs your joints become damaged through activity and natural aging, the likelihood of needing a joint replacement may seem unavoidable. Many factors have an effect on the comfort and level of mobility of your joints, and dehydration is one factor to avoid. Here’s how dehydration plays into your joint health.

Tired Woman Sweating After RunningFlexibility

Lack of adequate moisture in your body robs your joints of fluidity. They won’t bend, stretch, or bear weight as effectively as a joint given ample resources. The more dehydrated you become, the more the cartilage and cushioning in your joints will harden and grind together. Your movements will feel stiff and limited.


As you might imagine, all that grinding and inflexibility is also accompanied by pain. At some point the problem may become too severe and the damage to the joint is occurring faster than the body can grow replacement cells. Replenishing the body’s electrolytes and hydration at that point may be too late to affect much change, and the additional damage may require a joint replacement or other surgical methods to fix the source of the pain.

Arthritis Risk

Various research studies suggest that dehydration may trigger the onset of certain types of arthritis pain. Unfortunately, many patients are unaware of the link and treat the pain symptoms with medications rather than simply rehydrating, and that will take an added toll on your body.

About Hydration

An important note to take is that hydration isn’t just about taking in fluid, but drinking the right types of fluids. Caffeinated beverages contain some water, but also have a diuretic effect that can dry out your body. Sugary drinks (even fruit juices) alter the body’s chemical balance and create an acidic environment that damages joints and bones. A balance of water and electrolytes is what you’re after, and will yield the best result for your joint health.

Whether or not you are already facing joint replacement surgery, staying hydrated is absolutely critical to your mobility (not to mention the rest of your health!). Talk to your doctors about the hydrating fluids that will help your whole body.

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