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