Summer Parties Made Easy Despite RA

Minimize joint pain and fatigue while enjoying everything a barbecue has to offer.

Diana Bierman
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  • Play joint-friendly games. “Have a variety of outdoor games that don’t require a lot of stressful or repetitive movement—for example, croquet is much easier on the joints than badminton, volleyball or horseshoes,” explains Dr. Amini.
  • Break out the portable radio. What’s a barbecue without some good tunes? In a study done at the Cleveland Clinic that included folks with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and disk problems, listening to music reduced pain by more than 20%. The best part? The type of music didn’t matter—so you’ll enjoy the benefits even if somebody changes the station!
  • Set an end time. “That way, guests recognize when it’s time to leave,” says Dr. Amini. “And that will ensure you don’t overtax your energy reserves!”  

Don’t forget to wear...

  • Comfy shoes. “Arthritis can create deformities in the feet, so they require attention and support,” says Dr. Amini. “Shoes should be supportive, lightweight and weather-appropriate as much as possible.” Avoid flimsy sandals or flip-flops. Instead, try a “sports” sandal with good arch support. And if it’s raining or the grass is wet, wear slip-on sneakers.
  • Sunscreen. This is especially important if you take medications that can cause photosensitivity (check with your doctor or pharmacist). “Methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine, for example, can cause severe skin reactions to the sun,” says rheumatologist Richard Blau, MD, who practices at the Arthritis Institute of Long Island in New York.



March 2013