How to Increase Synovial Fluid

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Synovial fluid is a thick liquid that helps your joints move and keeps them from rubbing together. It is also called joint fluid. All of your joints have this liquid around them but you will have less of it as you get older. That's partly why your joints do not move as well and get stiff as you age.

Synovial joints are made up of bones that slide against each other. These joints include your:

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Elbows

You can take steps to protect your joints. This article will explain what the fluid in your joints does and give you tips for protecting your joints as you get older.

Midsection of woman with knee pain sitting on chair

Anupong Thongchan / EyeEm / Getty Images

Exercising

Joints like your knees and elbows have a soft tissue around them called the synovial membrane (synovium). It makes the fluid that helps your joints move. When you exercise your body, it helps the fluid and nutrients in the membrane move around better.

Any physical activity is good for your body. Some exercises are very good for your joints, such as:

  • Stretching
  • Strength training
  • Quadricep squats
  • Knee flexion
  • Heel raises

Diet

Eating foods that are good for your joints can also help keep them healthy and might help you feel better if your joints hurt. Some foods are very good for your joints, such as:

  • Dark, leafy vegetables
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, mackerel, and flaxseeds)
  • Anti-inflammatory foods that have curcumin in them (a compound found in turmeric)
  • High antioxidant foods (onions, garlic, green tea, and berries)
  • Nuts and seeds

Nutritional Supplements 

Your doctor might want you to take a nutritional supplement and have medical treatment at the same time. This is called complementary therapy. The supplements will not cure joint conditions, but they might help you feel better.

Examples of supplements that can be good for your joints include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are substances are found in foods or supplements like fish oil. They can help make irritation in the body (inflammation) better.
  • Glycosaminoglycans are molecules in your body that help keep it hydrated. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two examples.
  • Methionine is an amino acid your body uses to grow and heal.
  • Collagen is a protein your body uses to make the tissue between bones (cartilage).

Recap

Exercise, nutritious food, and supplements can help you take care of your joints.

Medical Treatments

Some people lose a lot of joint fluid as they get older. Cartilage can also start to rub together and wear away. When this happens, you might get osteoarthritis.

If you have a joint condition, your doctor will talk to you about treatment. Some medical treatments protect your joints. Others can help you deal with symptoms like pain.

Viscosupplementation Injections

Viscosupplementation supplements have hyaluronic acid in them. Your body makes hyaluronic acid to help your joints move easily. You can give your body more of it by taking a supplement.

The treatment does not increase joint fluid. Instead, it can help you feel better if you have pain in your joints because they do not have a lot of fluid in them.

Your healthcare provider will give you one or more shots (injections) in your joints. You can have the injections more than once over several months if you need to.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet-rich plasma (PRPR) is a treatment that helps your body fix damaged tissue. It is a type of regenerative medicine treatment. These treatments help your body heal itself.

Before you start the treatment, you will have some blood taken. Your blood will be used to make a special fluid called plasma. The fluid has a lot of the blood cells that help your body heal in it. These are called platelets.

Your provider will put the fluid in your joint with a needle. They may use an ultrasound to look at your joint and make sure the shot gets in the right place.

The goal of the treatment is to put more helpful blood cells in the damaged joints to help them heal. However, more studies need to be done to make sure that the treatment works. Some studies have said that PRP treatment is at least as helpful as hyaluronic acid for people with osteoarthritis.

Treating Your Symptoms

Your body may have less joint fluid if you have osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor might have you try different treatments if you have these conditions. It will depend on how much damage has been done to your joints and how you feel (for example, how much pain you are in).

Recap

Some medical treatments protect your joints. Others can help you feel better if your joints hurt.

Summary

Synovial fluid or joint fluid helps your joints move easily. Joint damage, conditions like arthritis, and losing the fluid as you get older can make your joints stiff and painful. You can't stop the changes, but there are ways to keep your joints healthy as you age.

A Word From Verywell

As you age, you will have less joint fluid. Your joints will not be able to move as well and the parts may rub together. When this happens, the joints can get damaged and cause you pain. You might also have less joint fluid if you have a condition like arthritis.

Exercising is one way to help your joints move better. There are also foods and supplements that support your body in making more joint fluid. If your joints are damaged and hurt, your doctor can talk to you about medical treatment. They can find a treatment that can protect your joints and help you feel better.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Arthritis Foundation. How exercise helps your joints.

  2. Castrogiovanni P, Trovato FM, Loreto C, et al. Nutraceutical supplements in the management and prevention of osteoarthritis. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(12):2042. doi:10.3390/ijms17122042

  3. Belk JW, Kraeutler MJ, Houck DA, et al. Platelet-rich plasma versus hyaluronic acid for knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Sports Med. 2021;49(1):249-260. doi:10.1177/0363546520909397