where does it hurt? Use our interactive tool to learn more about treatment for your pain points.
Contact us (609) 371-9100 where does it hurt? Menu

Dehydration and Joint Pain

Dehydration and Joint Pain

Dehydration and Joint Pain

Though most individuals are aware of the importance of staying hydrated, many don’t know the connections between dehydration and joint pain.

Dehydration occurs when the body’s water content is too low, which can happen when an individual loses too much fluid or doesn’t intake enough fluids in the first place. The body requires sufficient water in its system, also known as daily fluid intake, to remain healthy and function properly. Daily fluid intake comprises drinking water and water consumed in foods and beverages.

Through this educational article, you’ll learn how dehydration causes joint pain, along with tips for keeping hydrated and reducing inflammation in the joints.

Is There a Link Between Joint Pain and Hydration?

Yes, dehydration and joint pain are directly related. Studies have shown that dehydration negatively affects the muscles and connective tissues in the body.

Adequate fluid intake lubricates your joints, decreases inflammation and reduces friction within your cartilage — a tissue that sustains smooth joint movement. If the body doesn’t have enough fluid to maintain joint lubrication, the joints can become more difficult to move, resulting in pain. That’s why it’s vital for those with arthritis to keep their fluid intake up to prevent joint pain from worsening and even relieve their symptoms.

Dehydration can also cause collagen fibers within the tissue to stiffen and become brittle, leading to mechanical changes in the tissues’ properties. These changes weaken the collagen’s ability to tolerate compression, deformation and elongation, resulting in muscle stiffness and decreased flexibility.

How Does Drinking Water Help With Arthritis?

Drinking water is a simple and effective means of preventing and alleviating arthritis symptoms. Water contributes to the maintenance of numerous bodily functions, which all tie into joint pain mitigation:

  • Digestive health
  • Movement
  • Waste removal
  • Fluid balance
  • Energy levels
  • Temperature regulation

In addition to sustaining these essential processes, there are many other ways drinking water helps with arthritis and reduces joint pain.

Produces Synovial Fluid

Drinking adequate volumes of water leads to greater synovial fluid generation. Synovial fluid is a thick liquid that lubricates, shields and protects the joints as they slide against each other. This liquid creates a cushioning between the bones that prevents them from rubbing against one another, ensuring that the joints move smoothly. When you drink enough water, the body can better maintain fluid balance, reducing inflammation around the joints by stimulating the production of synovial fluid.
Dehydration can result in a synovial fluid deficiency. When the body doesn’t produce enough synovial fluid, the bones may rub and erode the cartilage, causing joint damage, inflammation and pain. Your synovial fluid levels also naturally decrease as you age, making the need to hydrate through water consumption even more vital.

Encourages Tissue Growth

Many of your joints contain cartilage at each end, where they meet with other bones. Water moving through the cartilage tissue enables nutrients to travel between cells within the joints.

Healthy cartilage is soft and smooth, helping the body move by enabling the bones to glide past one another without rubbing. This motion ensures that the joints can bend and straighten without difficulty, safeguarding them against weight-bearing stress.

If you don’t drink enough water, your cartilage can dry out and become stiff, resulting in friction and swelling, which can increase joint pain.

Flushes Out Toxins and Waste

Most waste products, produced through natural metabolic functions, are removed from the body by means of urination after traveling through the liver and kidneys. Water plays a significant role in flushing out toxins and waste by helping to move these irritants out of the body.

The kidney system is completely dependent on water to facilitate its filtering capabilities. The proper fluid intake is necessary for the kidneys to maintain the body’s water balance and excrete toxins through the bladder. When the body is hydrated and can eliminate toxins and waste products, it prevents inflammation and uric acid accumulation, which can create gout flares and other gout symptoms.

Supports Weight Loss

Consuming adequate water is essential for waste removal, digestive support and reduced caloric intake, which help the body maintain a healthy weight. Sustaining the body’s ideal weight is beneficial for those with arthritis, creating less pressure on the joints, while excess weight can aggravate arthritis symptoms.

Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration varies from case to case, but knowing the many possible causes and indicators is a good way to prevent and manage these symptoms.


The body loses fluid in numerous ways that can lead to dehydration, including basic bodily functions, medical conditions and physical activities. Some of the many causes of dehydration and joint pain include:

  • Sweating.
  • Diabetes.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Waste elimination.
  • Excessive urination.
  • Vomiting.
  • Extreme heat exposure.
  • Excessive exercise.


There are many signals indicating dehydration, some more subtle than others. These symptoms include:

  • Extreme thirstiness.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Inability to urinate.
  • Dryness of the mouth.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Dark urine color.

In the case of severe dehydration, you may experience:

  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Dizziness.
  • Extremely dry skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Fainting.

How Much Water Is Enough?

Individual water intake requirements are affected by factors like age, sex, environment, activity level, pregnancy, health and breastfeeding status. However, there are generally accepted water levels that provide a reliable benchmark for daily fluid intake — 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women between 19 and 50 years old, or 15.5 and 11.5 cups per day, respectively. These water amounts provide adequate hydration for healthy, sedentary individuals in temperate environments.

In most cases, your daily fluid intake motivated by thirst and routine food and beverage consumption will be sufficient for maintaining adequate hydration. You can typically tell that you’re drinking enough water if your urine takes a light-yellow hue or if you rarely feel thirsty throughout the day.

How Much Water Is Too Much?

Drinking more than the recommended daily water intake isn’t usually a problem for healthy adults. However, drinking between 2 and 4 liters of water per hour without much fluid loss may become dangerous, as these levels can exceed the body’s ability to void the liquid. Endurance athletes are the most at risk to drink too much water after or during long and intense exercise periods in an attempt to prevent dehydration.

When the body becomes overhydrated, the kidneys accumulate too much water that they can’t expel. As a result, sodium and electrolyte levels in the blood can become diluted — a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia.

If your urine is colorless, you’re urinating over 10 times a day, or you’re drinking water when you’re not thirsty, you may be intaking too much water.

What to Drink for Arthritis

While water is an excellent source of hydration, there are many other beverages you can drink to treat your arthritis pain. Some of these drinks for arthritis relief are useful for hydrating the body, while others contain nutrients that can alleviate joint pain.

Infused Water

Infused water is the perfect solution for individuals looking for the refreshment of water with a little something extra for taste. You can either purchase flavored waters at the grocery store or make a pitcher at home to achieve all the benefits of hydration for pain relief.

Infused water is quick and easy to make and has many flavor options to explore. Some of the many ingredients you can use in your infused water include citrus fruits, zest, berries, cucumbers, mint or ginger.


Juice is an excellent drink for arthritis relief, as many fruit and vegetable juices contain nutrients that help with joint pain. For example, orange, pineapple, carrot and tomato juices have high levels of vitamin C, giving them antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation. Tart cherry juice is also effective in decreasing osteoarthritis symptoms and gout flare-ups.

Though juice has many beneficial properties for relieving joint pain, it can be high in sugar and calories. Make sure to enjoy these sweet drinks in moderation and try to avoid fructose, which is a sugar that can promote uric acid production.


Tea is one of the best drinks for mitigating arthritis pain. Black, green and white teas, in particular, are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. Green tea contains an active ingredient called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a substance with antioxidant activity that’s 100 times stronger than vitamins C and E that helps to preserve bone and cartilage.


Smoothies contain many of the vitamins and nutrients of fruit juices, but with the added benefit of fiber, which cleans the arteries and prevents constipation.

Using colorful fruits, vegetables and leafy greens like berries, spinach and kale is a great way to acquire higher doses of vitamins and nutrients. You can also add yogurt or fermented beverages like kefir for a good source of probiotics, which help reduce inflammation in the body.

Drinks to Avoid for Rehydration

While various drinks can prevent arthritis symptoms, there are also many that you should avoid for rehydration. The following beverages contain ingredients that may have a negative impact on your joints.


Sugar is a highly inflammatory ingredient, putting drinks like soda on the top of the list of things to avoid if you have arthritis. These sugary beverages also contain high levels of phosphoric acid, which can lead to the loss of calcium and other essential vitamins and nutrients. Diet soda is just as bad as regular soda, as it contains artificial sweeteners that can prevent the body from metabolizing gluten properly.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks have several times the amount of caffeine of coffee and soft drinks, which is detrimental to those with autoimmune conditions like arthritis. These drinks can also increase gout attack frequency.


Alcohol consumption can boost uric acid levels in the blood, which can increase a person’s risk of developing gout. Beer poses additional risks due to its high grain content. Grain contains inflammatory proteins like gluten, which can generate and maintain joint inflammation.

Sweetened Coffee

There are many conflicting studies about coffee’s effects on arthritis — some suggest that this beverage leads to an increased risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, while others state the opposite. That’s because coffee contains both polyphenols that are beneficial for reducing inflammation and high caffeine content, which can be harmful.

If you’re going to drink coffee, be sure to avoid adding cream, sugar or milk.

Foods for Rehydration and Reducing Inflammation

You can do more to relieve your arthritis than drink hydrating, anti-inflammatory beverages. There are also many foods you can eat that have the same arthritis-friendly effects. Meals provide approximately 20% of your daily fluid intake, plus many foods have nutritional, anti-inflammatory properties that make them excellent for easing joint pain.

Fatty Fish

Many fatty fish varieties contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to deliver anti-inflammatory effects. This quality makes fatty fish beneficial to those with inflammation caused by arthritis. According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids have also been linked to decreased joint pain, the number of painful joints, morning stiffness and use of pain relievers in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, along with reduced inflammation in those with osteoarthritis.

Types of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Salmon.
  • Sardines.
  • Mackerel.
  • Trout.
  • Herring.
  • Anchovies.


You’re probably aware that berries are packed with vitamins and minerals, but you may not know that these fruits are also high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which help fight inflammation in the body. Berries are also rich in rutin and quercin, plant compounds that ease some of the inflammatory processes associated with arthritis.

The following berries have anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful for those who suffer from joint pain:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries
  • Boysenberries

In addition to their nutritional properties, some berries are also hydrating to the body. Strawberries, for example, have a water content of 91%.


Vegetables are another valuable source of vitamins and minerals like antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds that can help alleviate arthritis symptoms. Some vegetables like bell peppers and cauliflower also have a high water content, making them suitable for preventing dehydration and joint pain.

Consider eating the following vegetables if you have arthritis:

  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel sprouts


Nuts are heart-healthy and contain many nutrients with anti-inflammatory effects, such as calcium, zinc, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E and omega-3 fats. You can also avoid inflammation from red meats by replacing a daily serving of meat with a quarter cup of nuts.

Types of nuts that reduce joint pain include:

  • Almonds.
  • Pecans.
  • Peanuts.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • Pistachios.
  • Walnuts.


In addition to adding great flavor to meals, garlic has countless health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and dementia, combating cancer, and strengthening the immune system. On top of these perks, garlic also has anti-inflammatory effects that can decrease inflammatory markers associated with arthritis and reduce the risk of hip osteoarthritis.

Relieve Dehydration and Joint Pain at Metropolitan Pain & Spine Institute

If you’re looking to alleviate your arthritis symptoms, Metropolitan Pain & Spine Institute is your number one treatment option. Our board-certified surgeons and specialists offer the least invasive surgical procedures with minimal incisions so that our patients can resume their everyday lives with the shortest recovery times possible. We’re dedicated to relieving your pain and reviving your life while creating an honest environment with transparent treatment options.

Schedule an appointment to get started with your initial consultation today!

Linked Sources

Comments are closed.

Trusted by over

50,000 People For Their Pain

Back to top