Synovial Fluid (how to keep your joints juicy)

Keep your joints juicy! Synovial fluid basics | FemFusion Fitness

Are you an anatomy geek? Me too! If you’re not, then you should be, because learning how your body works ROCKS. It helps you understand WHY it’s important to eat well, WHY it’s imperative to move your body, and how what you do today can (and will) affect you tomorrow.

Before I go on, I want to reassure you that it’s NEVER TOO LATE to start learning about your anatomy and physiology and making use of this information. Even if you’re in your eighties… Even if you already have arthritis… Even if you’re tight and stiff… It’s not too late to dig in, roll up your sleeves, put on your geek glasses, and learn how your body works! Knowledge is power, and it’s the first step toward making a positive change in your health and wellness.

In my last blog post I shared a mini anatomy lesson about fascia, the tissue that hooks your body together. Today we’re talking about SYNOVIAL FLUID, otherwise known as “joint juice.”

KEEP YOUR JOINTS JUICY

The adult human body contains more than 300 joints, or points where two bones meet. There are three types of joints:

  • Fibrous joints (for example, the seams where the skull bones join together — not mobile at all…)
  • Cartilaginous joints (for example, where the pubic bones meet at the pubic symphysis — not very mobile either…)
  • Synovial joints, which tend to be HIGHLY mobile and contain slick, slippery synovial fluid.

Synovial fluid is a thick, slick straw-colored liquid found in bursae (fluid-filled sacs in or near joints), tendon sheaths, and synovial joints. Synovial fluid is produced by a special membrane, and it has a consistency similar to egg whites.

When I told my husband this fact he wrinkled up his nose… Ugh. Egg whites. It sounds kind of gross, doesn’t it? But thank GOD for synovial fluid… It’s the “joint juice” that keeps your joints cushioned and lubed!

Synovial fluid helps the bones of a joint glide against one another with little or no friction. It works in tandem with articular cartilage, which is at the ends of the bones in the joint. When articular cartilage and synovial fluid are healthy and intact, synovial joints move freely and are pain-free.

MOVEMENT = HEALTHY JOINTS

Synovial fluid also helps feed and detoxify your joints; it delivers nutrients to the cartilage, and removes waste from the very same cartilage. This is why MOVEMENT is essential for joint health.

Think of synovial joints as sponges. When a joint is at rest, the joint’s cartilage absorbs some of the synovial fluid. But when the joint is moving, synovial fluid is squeezed out of the cartilage, similar to how water is wrung out from a sponge.

USING YOUR JOINTS REGULARLY is essential for circulating the synovial fluid throughout the joints, keeping them lubricated, healthy, fed, clean, and happy.

Keep your joints juicy! Synovial fluid basics | FemFusion Fitness

SYNOVIAL JOINTS CAN BECOME INJURED OR ARTHRITIC JOINTS

Here’s the bummer: Because of their complexity (articular cartilage, synovial membranes, and their high capacity for mobility), synovial joints are generally more prone to injury and problems such as arthritis.

Arthritis = JOINT INFLAMMATION. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears away. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joints.

When the cartilage within a synovial joint is damaged or diseased (for example, in osteoarthritis), the body responds by increasing the production of synovial fluid… Sometimes three times as much! Although the body is trying to protect you via the inflammatory process (and by providing extra synovial “cushioning”), unfortunately the excess fluid can cause the joint to become distended, hot, and painful. This causes less mobility, and if the condition becomes chronic, more stiffness and pain.

MOTION IS LOTION

Thankfully, there’s a solution to help prevent — and even combat — joint pain: GENTLE movement. Gentle movement helps circulate the synovial fluid, “wring out” the aforementioned “joint sponge,” and reduce inflammation over time.

If you’re injured and/or suffer from severe arthritis, please note that it takes consistency, a VERY GRADUAL progression, and an understanding that there’s a fine line between gentle movement and overdoing it. When it doubt, consult a trained professional such as a physical therapist.

An inflamed joint should never be pushed, stretched into pain, or worked vigorously; this can disrupt the healing process and may actually cause more damage. But when done regularly and within a pain-free range, “motion is lotion.” If you’ve been following my work for awhile, you’ll recognize this phrase (“motion is lotion”) — I use it in hashtags all over social media and throughout my new e-course, The Circle Solution.

Gentle hip circles done regularly (every day!) are one of the best ways to move the hip and spinal joints in all directions, thereby flushing synovial fluid throughout the joint and improving joint health. I’m thrilled to say that hip circles have GREATLY reduced low back pain for several of my friends and clients.

10 reasons hip circles rock! | FemFusion Fitness

So… Now that you have an understanding of synovial fluid, “motion is lotion” makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it?

Get those joints moving, and keep ’em juicy and freely flowing. If they’re not there now, they can get there… Slowly but surely! Start moving those joints TODAY.

If you have any questions about joints or synovial fluid or ANYTHING, don’t hesitate to contact me! I love hearing from you.

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