What Kinda Joint is This?

By Laura Gordon

We’re going to be taking a closer look at Hinge Joints in this blog. What they are. Why we care and how to keep them strong and healthy.

There are other important synovial joints including the hinge joints, however, because of their number in the extremities they not only play a role in helping our client’s maintain fluidity of movement through range of motion, they are also play an important role in our work as therapists. The primary focus of our work is done with our hands, but we also add forearms to our routine. So taking care of our hands and elbows is way up there on the list of things to do, add all the walking and standing we do around the table and taking care of our knees and feet is another on “the take care of” list.

Hinge joints are monoaxial (mono: one; axial: pertaining to a central or principal structure, about which something turns or is arranged). The articular surfaces, or the two end bones making up the hinge joint, are connected by strong collateral ligaments. Their action is much like the hinge on a door.

From the elbow to the tips of our fingers we have 28 hinge joints and from the knee to the tips of our toes we have 30 hinge joints making it a total of 58.

For massage therapists, or anyone interested, keeping the hinge joints healthy here are some tips:

1. Exercise. Keeping your muscles strong helps in joint stability. Definitely a plus when using deep tissue work on our clients.

2. Diet. Arthritis can become a problem for many – eating properly now can eliminate or at least reduce the effects of this painful chronic condition. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A and C; consuming fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E; include nuts and whole grains; eat anti-inflammatory foods and avoid foods with trans-fat, saturated fat and noncomplex refined carbohydrates are ways of reducing arthritis risk factors.

3. Flexibility. Stretching, practicing yoga and making sure to do full range of motion movements on a daily basis increases joint health.

4. Protect joints after over use with adequate rest (time off to recover – kick back, put your feet up and relax with a good book or a movie on tv), ice packs, compress the joint with taping and elevation.

Select from the above suggestions the one that most “pops out” at you and write a comment on how following it would help you in your work.

Ergonomics Body Mechanics and Self Care for Bodyworkers, 1st edition, Diane Redman & ArdathLunbeck, 2012

27 thoughts on “What Kinda Joint is This?”

  1. I like to exercise (dancing, it is an enjoyable way to get synovial fluid lubricating my joints along with water. Thanks for the great tips, Laura!

  2. Medical Assistants do not over-use their hands nearly as much as Massage Therapists do on a day-to-day basis, but our hands are still the most important tool we have; we must keep them healthy. I really liked the advice to keep the joints loose with ROM & to rest them when able to recover for the next round of use.

  3. I believe that being flexible is very important, I like to do yoga to stay flexible. Not only does it help your body feel good but it also great for my muscles.

  4. 3. Flexibility. Stretching, practicing yoga and making sure to do full range of motion movements on a daily basis increases joint health.

    I need to be flexible all the time, but I do not stretch like I should. I could probably give a better massage if I were more flexible because I could get down lower to the ground to apply more pressure. As a massage therapist, being flexible would be most beneficial.

  5. 4. Protect joints after over use with adequate rest (time off to recover – kick back, put your feet up and relax with a good book or a movie on tv), ice packs, compress the joint with taping and elevation.
    The work I do right now has me actively squatting, lifting, and walking a lot; so it’s important that I rest them after a hard day of work! This tip will also help when I’m a massage therapist because where something is worked, it needs equal rest. I also know that not eating proper foods and not exercising also contribute to my joint pain, especially in my knees… that’s something I need to work on as well to keep my body in check so I can better serve my clients. Thanks for these great tips Laura!

  6. Stretch! Stretch! Stretch! Sounds repetitive but necessary. I will depend and always will depend on my hands. I try to take care of them and when they hurt I listen to them and give them the necessary rest, as much as possible. I self massage them constantly and they like it.

  7. The one that pops out at me in stretching. I use to dance Ballet and Modern in college and taught it and that really help me be strong and healthy. Now I have back problems and have started doing yoga since I no longer dance. I can tell a big difference when I haven’t been doing yoga. Yoga and stretching really does help my back feel much better and my muscles feel longer and looser and not so many knots. Makes me want to go to yoga right now. Thanks Laura.

  8. I have been wanting to put more excercise into my daily routine to build up my core muscles and my arm muscles so I will start doing that now. And I love to eat fish and any kind of nut so I will incorporate those more in my diet. I have been wanting to start doing more yoga and pilates so I will work on that too.

  9. The main one that I really need to work on is my diet. I consume all kinds of junk during the day. I try to make efforts to eat healthier, but it never seems to stick. I know it is something that I really need to be more aware about and improve on it.

  10. I believe diet has alot to do with our bodies altogether. I have read that potatoes makes your joints hurt and wheat as well! putting in “good for you” food into your body will help you feel better and help with your joints. It will hopefully keep your weight down which also has alot to do with how our joints feel as well.

  11. I love stretching! I have a whole little routine I do in the mornings before I get out of bed. =]I’m always on my feet at work and doing alot of heavy lifting. Then I come to school to massage so, I definitely have to keep up with some type of way to keep my joints and bones feeling sane!

  12. i love doing ROM on my ankles. when im sitting down watching tv ill rotate my ankle because it feels stiff. it doesnt always feel better right away but im sure its helping to keep it from getting worse. oddly my ankle clicks every time i move it to the anterior lateral side, i have no idea why tho.

  13. Isn’t funny that all those foods that are bad for us are the cheapest. I love many fruits and vegetables but in all seriousness, many of the foods that are better for us are more expensive. I love oranges, apples, and I could eat cold seedless watermelon all day. Also I’ve learned since I’ve started school here that yoga doesn’t have to be your leg over your head. I’ve started doing small stretches for myself especially for my knee since I’ve had knee surgery.

  14. While I love stretching, diet is the point that popped out at me. I love the ideal of practicing good nutrition and intentional eating. However there is often a chasm between theory and regular practice when it comes to intentional healthy eating. It was good to be reminded of yet another reason to practice good nutrition as another way to care for my body well!!! 🙂

  15. Stretching always makes me feel better when i have any aches and pains. Its very important to make this part of the day.

  16. With working odd hours and going to school, it is hard too get into a regular routine. I know I can improve on my eating habits, and drink less coffee. It’s hard to make time for myself, but will try and take at least 10 deep breaths in the morning and night and fit in stretching exercises.

  17. The one that stands out for me would be flexibility and stretching. I have always been very flexible, I have 6 years of gymnastics to thank for that, and I notice that taking time to stretch before massage and after really helps me to not be stiff.

  18. The one that pops out to me is “1. Exercise. Keeping your muscles strong helps in joint stability. Definitely a plus when using deep tissue work on our clients.” I love this one because I have weak wrists and if I move them wrong or do some deep work they begin to hurt. Sense I started working out my wrists are able to handle more and more I feel that if i continue with my daily routine they will get to a point where they will not hurt ever, Can’t wait!

  19. Almost every morning I have my 7 fruit and 7 seven vegetables of course that sounds a lot to eat but actually I blend them up in my vita-mix blender and drink my breakfast and I am full for majority of the day. On the weekends I start riding my bike the first day I rode my bike I had spaghetti legs and thats when I realized I need to hit the gym more to keep my muscle strength up and keep them joints more mobile. So reading this blog I am going to try to stretch every morning when I get out of bed to keep my joints and muscles ready to go.

  20. This blog was very informative. I have began to incorporate streatching in to my daily life. Now its definitely time yo work on the diet aspect. Its amazing how making little life style changes, can have such a huge effect on your overall well being. Thankyou fo sharing. Heres to beter living.

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  22. I know that if I do two my knee pain would probably be greatly reduced. Between school and work I am on my feet more than I am not. If I would add vitamins in with a better Omega 3 rich diet, and ice my knee up more when resting I believe that it would help greatly.

  23. I just began learning how to properly utilize deep tissue and myofascial release techniques, and I’m starting to realize how easy it is to forget to maintain proper body mechanics with my wrist while using my forearm. I know if I start using the proper mechanics now, it will save me a great deal of joint issues later!

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