Does Sugar Cause Joint Pain?


Arthritis is a condition that causes joint pain and inflammation. There are over 100 different types, which can affect men and women of any age. Common symptoms include joint swelling, pain, and stiffness, and it can make normal daily activities very difficult. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that results in joint inflammation, leading to the weakening of bones and connective tissue of a joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune inflammatory arthritis in which the immune system attacks healthy joint tissue. Sugar consumption has been linked to both the development of arthritis and an increase in symptoms.   

Sugary foods and beverages are associated with obesity, microbiome changes (gut bacteria), and inflammation. One study found that soda (containing sugar) and desserts aggravated symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, while blueberries, fish, and spinach improved their symptoms. Increased sugar consumption has also been linked to the development of arthritis. Another study that looked at the relationship between soda consumption and the development of rheumatoid arthritis in women found that women who regularly consumed soda-containing sugar had a 63% increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared to women who did not regularly drink soda.  

Despite what many believe, arthritis is not an inevitable part of aging. Along with reducing consumption of added sugar, there are many other steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing arthritis and reduce your symptoms if you already have the condition. Physical activity can help prevent the development of arthritis by maintaining joint strength and stability. If you are already dealing with arthritis, low-impact activities, such as swimming, help to increase circulation to and lubricate joints. The more strength and stability you can build around a joint, the less likely you are to experience symptoms. Wearing supportive shoes can also help reduce risk and symptoms. Supportive shoes assist with keeping your joints in a good position and absorbing shock. Shoes without support or that are really worn can lead to your ankles or knees rolling inward, increasing stress on joints.  

Don’t let arthritis pain control your life. Contact our Athletic Therapist, Crystal, today to see how she can help you heal faster and stronger, and get back to doing the activities you love!  

Crystal Bartkowski
Certified Athletic Therapist

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