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Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Your Joints

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Alcohol abuse can lead to complications with your joints, a little-discussed consequence of addiction. When they’re working properly, we hardly have to think about our joint functions. Joints occur when at least two bones meet, and allow for movement in the body. There are several different kinds of joints, all of which contribute to our daily activities. However, joints are at risk of injury, and alcohol abuse can have a lasting impact on your joints.

Alcohol Abuse and Your Joints

When your joints aren’t working as they should, you may experience pain or struggle to move around. Joint pain can be a result of inflammation, strains, sprains, or infection. Alcohol abuse can affect your joints both directly and indirectly, either by worsening the symptoms of an existing condition, interacting with medication for a condition, or even causing a condition.


Although alcohol abuse is not believed to directly cause arthritis, it can aggravate the symptoms. For example, people with gout, a form of rheumatoid arthritis, are frequently advised to stay off of alcohol. A study published in The Lancet medical journal showed that men who drank the most alcohol increased their risk of developing gout by 50% for each serving per day. Alcohol abuse, then, could be a factor in gout.

Avascular Necrosis (AVN) 

AVN, also known as osteonecrosis, is caused when the blood supply to the bone is cut off or impaired. The bone tissue dies without blood, and the bone can collapse. When this happens to a bone near a joint, the joint surface may collapse as well. This can happen through injury, steroid medications, or alcohol abuse. When people abuse alcohol, they may develop fatty substances that can block blood vessels, which leads to a limited blood supply to the bones. Treatment for AVN comes in both surgical and non-surgical forms, and tends to be ongoing.

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People who suffer from joint pain due to arthritis or other conditions may be taking prescription painkillers on their doctor’s orders. These painkillers are very sensitive to other influences, and that includes alcohol. If you are taking prescription medication for joint pain, alcohol abuse could interact with that medication, both decreasing its effectiveness and potentially causing harm to your health.

The effects of alcohol abuse on your joints and the rest of your body are far-reaching and can be severe. With treatment, you can break the cycle of alcohol abuse and reduce the risk of damage to your joints and your overall health.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

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