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How Do I Increase Joint Flexibility?

Stretching exercises can help increase joint flexibility.
Yoga can increase flexibility.
Some supplements, like glucosamine chondroitin, may help improve joint flexibility.
Article Details
  • Written By: A. Gabrenas
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Joint flexibility refers to how well you can move your joints through their normal range of motion. The more flexible joints are, the more easily they usually move. In general, you can increase joint flexibility by doing a variety of stretching exercises. Some people may also find joint supplements helpful in increasing flexibility.

There are a variety of exercises that can be used to help increase flexibility. Before any of these stretches are performed, a warm-up period is generally recommended to help reduce injury. Warm-up exercises can include gently moving the joints in circles or doing a light activity, such as walking. Once the body has had a few minutes to warm up and the muscles and tendons feel limber, it is typically OK to begin stretching exercises.

To improve joint flexibility, range-of-motion stretches are often recommended. Range of motion essentially refers to how far you can move your joint, so range-of-motion exercises generally involve moving your joints in all the directions they normally move. With each stretch, the muscles and tendons that support the joint lengthen, which usually allows the joint to move a little further. This lengthening can often be felt as a slight tightness or burning in the muscles.

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The exact stretches typically depend on the joint being worked. For example, a range of motion exercise for the knee might involve bending the knee back up toward the back of the thigh as far as possible and holding it there, then extending it forward to be in line with the thigh. A stretch for the shoulder might involve holding the arm out at shoulder height and rotating the shoulder up, then toward the back, then down, and then toward the front to complete a full circle.

Most range of motion stretches should be held for about 30 seconds. You should try to keep the muscles and the joint still, without bouncing, to help prevent injury. Many experts recommend stretching to the point where you can feel a slight tightness in the muscles, but never to the point where it actually hurts. You will probably be able to stretch a little further each time as you begin to increase joint flexibility.

In addition to stretching, some people may use supplements to help improve joint flexibility. Glucosamine and chondroitin are some of the most commonly used joint supplements. Some studies have shown that taking these supplements may help relieve joint pain and stiffness associated with certain conditions, such as osteoarthritis. As a joint becomes less painful and stiff, flexibility may improve.

Whether looking to improve joint flexibility through stretching or the use of supplements, it generally is recommended that you first check with your health-care provider. In some cases, joint stiffness can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem that a health-care provider should treat. Talking to your health-care provider can also be helpful in determining the best exercises or supplements for your situation.

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Discuss this Article

Grinderry
Post 3
Is this something all people will have to go through or is it just for a specific gender, race, and/or sex? I know that my mother has never suffered from this and she is approaching 70. It might be that these types of conditions arise based on whether or not the person leads an active lifestyle, or their diet and what they consume.
Realited
Post 2

I knew someone who had severe joint pain to the level that they were not able to walk sometimes. I believe their doctor prescribed the glucosamine for them and after about a month they were walking better and able to move their joints with more ease.

Contentum
Post 1

I myself have suffered from stiff joints but I always thought it was due the fact that I play guitar and thought it is to be expected. I will be looking into some of these methods and procedures in order to try and alleviate this slight aggravation and pain it brings.

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