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Physicians often don’t realize that their arthritis patients are dehydrated, and a lack of water can contribute to the thinning of the cartilage cushioning your joints. That’s because this cartilage is mostly made up of water, explains James N. Dillard, M.D., D.C., a pain specialist in New York City. Consume four to six 8-ounce glasses of water daily. You can count sparkling water and herbal teas toward you daily fluid consumption, but caffeinated drinks like colas and coffee won’t hydrate you.