The amount of water you drink in a day can affect your joint health. There are many reasons why your joints might hurt. You could have arthritis, chronic dehydration, gout or the flu. Increasing your water intake may not cure your joint pain completely, but it can help your body handle the underlying issues that are causing you pain.
Your joints are like hinges where two bones come together. Ligaments connect bones to each other and a coating of cartilage covers the bone surface to keep the two bones from rubbing directly against each other. A special liquid called synovial fluid fills the space between bones and provides food to the joint and cartilage. A healthy, well-nourished joint is able to move without pain, but sometimes chronic stress, an injury or a buildup of acidic crystals in the joints can cause pain.
Staying properly hydrated throughout the day gives your body several advantages. Water helps you maintain an adequate blood volume so that nutrients can move through your blood and into your joints. If you think of your joints like a sponge, imagine how much more easily two wet sponges can move against one another than two dry, hard sponges. Water also allows waste products to move out of the joints. In addition to taking doctor-prescribed medication, people who suffer from gout pain should drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day.
The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services explains that chronic dehydration can lead to thirst, constipation, frequent joint pain, stomach pain, low energy and confusion. Unfortunately, your body's ability to sense thirst might lag behind its need for water. The best way to prevent dehydration is to make a conscious effort to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water before any exercise, so that your body has some reserve fluid it can use to for cooling.
The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that women drink 91 ounces of water daily and men drink 125. According to the American Council on Exercise, one good way to monitor your hydration level is to keep an eye on your urine, which should be "plentiful and pale yellow." If you take supplements, you will see a darker color for a few hours afterward, but should still be producing a good quantity. Pace yourself when drinking because chugging mass quantities of water all at once can throw off your body's sodium balance and leave you feeling dazed and confused for a couple of hours.