Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride Magnifies Impact of Repetitive Stress on Joints

F.A.N. | June 2012 | By Michael Connett

Research has repeatedly found that fluoride’s effect on the skeleton is most pronounced in the bones and joints that undergo the greatest strain. Indeed, both the symptoms of fluorosis (i.e., joint pain and stiffness) as well as the radiological findings (e.g., exostoses, interosseuous membrane calcification) have been found to occur earliest, and most severely, in the joints that receive the most stress. Among Indian basket weavers, therefore, the signs and symptoms of fluorosis were found to be most prominent in the left arm and wrist, while manual laborers were effected primarily in the spine. Based on these findings, it is plausible that fluoride — which is known to cause arthritic symptoms — could be a contributory factor to “Repetitive Stress” injuries. Some research, in fact, directly supports this possibility. Among a group of 12 patients with “Repetitive Stress Injury,” 8 patients “experienced marked relief” after six weeks of reducing fluoride intake and supplementing their diet with magnesium. (Smith 1985).

In addition, researchers from Russia report that mine workers who are exposed to significant vibration stress on the job (via drilling, etc), suffer far higher rates of debilitating joint problems when exposed to fluoride dusts (in fluorite mines) than when exposed to non-fluoride dusts (in iron mines). (Tartatovskaya 1995). The Russian researchers replicated these findings in animal studies, where fluoride was found to significantly amplify the impact of vibration stress on the body. According to the researchers: “The combined effect of vibration and calcium fluoride in an animal experiment causes a more pronounced effect than the individual factors, deviations in the state of a number of systems and also changes in the kinetics of fluorine in the body.”

Physical Stress Influences Symptoms & Radiological Findings of Fluorosis

“Radiological changes in industrial fluorosis suggest that physical strain on bones, ligaments, and joints plays an important role in the development of the lesions. The reason for the selective knee involvement in our patients may be fluoride’s selectivity for the most stressed joints. Sitting habits like hyperflexion sitting and ritual worship in our population may stress the knees and cause vulnerability to fluorotic damage.”
SOURCE: Savas S, et al. (2001). Endemic fluorosis in Turkish patients: relationship with knee osteoarthritis. Rheumatology International 21(1):30-5.

“it appears that the development of new fluorotic bone occurs at those sites most subjected to strain and minor trauma.”
SOURCE: Littleton J. (1999). Paleopathology of skeletal fluorosis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 109: 465-483.

“It is notable that the symptoms and radiological changes occur first in areas of greater muscular activity… Both Siddiqui and Singh et al noted… the selective effect of this halide on the joints which are most used.”
SOURCE: Anand JK, Roberts JT. (1990). Chronic fluorine poisoning in man: a review of literature in English (1946-1989) and indications for research. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 44: 417-420.

In “Indian basket weavers exposed to fluoride, it was observed that the much used left arm and wrist were particularly susceptible to fluorotic exostosis… [T]he areas suffering repeated or constant stress or trauma, and as a result requiring ongoing repair, may be areas of increased circulation and metabolism and, as a consequence, increased deposition of fluorides.”
SOURCE: Carnow BW, Conibear SA. (1981). Industrial fluorosis. Fluoride 14: 172-181.

“Radiological changes in industrial fluorosis suggest that physical strain on bones, ligaments, and joints play an important role in the development of the lesions.”
SOURCE: Boillat MA, et al. (1980). Radiological criteria of industrial fluorosis. Skeletal Radiology 5: 161-165.

“These [fluorotic] changes first appear at sites of greatest metabolic activity and stress within a given bone and in bones that are under the greatest stress from weight bearing and locomotion.”
SOURCE: Shupe JL, Olson AE. (1971). Cinical aspects of fluorosis in horses. Journal of the American Veterinary Association 158(2): 167-174.

“The radiographs of our case show the typical changes of severe skeletal fluorosis. Bones subjected to greatest stress are most affected (by fluorosis), probably due to their greater calcium turnover… The severe elbow involvement in our case may have been related to his occupation as a carpenter.”
SOURCE: Webb-Peploe MM, Bradley WG. (1966). Endemic fluorosis with neurological complications in a Hampshire man. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 29:577-583.

“The onset of fluorosis in humans is favored by physcial stress, affecting the skeletal regions most used by the individual. Continued surface abrasions of a bone with high fluoride and magnesium content may release relatively high levels of these ions at the crystal-solution interface, promoting crystallization of magnesium fluoride during replacement of damaged bone.”
SOURCE: Marier JR, et al. (1963). Accumulation of skeletal fluoride and its implications. Archives of Environmental Health 6: 664-671.

“Physical strain may also contribute, because the disease was found predominantly in manual workers, who showed involvement of cervical spine and skull – a condition rarely seen by Roholm.”
SOURCE: Singh A, et al. (1961). Skeletal fluorosis and its neurological complications. Lancet 1: 197-200.

“The degree of osteosclerosis was found to be related to the duration of intoxication and the concentration of fluorine in the water. Physical strain was also found responsible: the greater the strain, the more pronounced were the changes observed… Pain and stiffness were more severe in the joints used most by the individual – for example, the wrists, shoulders, and neck in the females, who were mostly engaged in household work: and the lumbar spine and the joints of the lower limbs in the males working in the fields.”
SOURCE: Siddiqui AH. (1955). Fluorosis in Nalgonda district, Hyderabad-Deccan. British Medical Journal ii (Dec 10): 1408-1413.

“In man, the spine is the most common part of the skeleton to be first affected (with fluorosis) and also severely so because it is required to sustain the erect posture and has stresses and strains.”
Prasad VS, Reddy DR. (1994). Posttraumatic pseudomenigocoele of cervical spine in a patient with skeletal fluorosis: Case report. Paraplegia 32(9): 627-30.