Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects the joints cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. The cartilage becomes thin and fragile and then cannot handle a normal load. Osteoarthritis affects 30% of the population between 50 and 70 years of age and is the most common cause of mobility issues and disability in older people.
OA has often been referred to as ‘wear and tear’ of the joint. This statement is incorrect and misleading because loads are needed to keep cartilage healthy. In a healthy joint, there is a balance of breakdown of cartilage and regeneration of cartilage. OA occurs when there is more breakdown than regeneration of the cartilage. This imbalance causes cartilage to thin, crack and sometimes disappear. Loads are required to regenerate any remaining cartilage to keep it as healthy as possible.
There are a number of factors that increase your chance of getting OA.
OA is the most common arthritis affecting 5 million Canadians (that’s 1 in 6!) OA can occur in any joint but the knees, hips and hands (especially the thumb joint at the base of the thumb and the joints in the end of your fingers) are the most affected joints with the knees the most prevalent.
OA often affects one joint and symptoms often progress slowly. Symptoms can start for no apparent reason. For some people, symptoms stop fully but for others, the symptoms quickly worsen and spread to other joints.
Early symptoms are more commonly felt in the morning for long periods of time.
Currently, there is no known way of curing cartilage loss. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve the function of the joint. Whether your symptoms and disability related to OA are minor or significant you should have treatment strategies in place as soon as possible.
Exercise has been shown to be the best treatment to reduce pain and increase function for people with osteoarthritis symptoms. Special exercises can be done to relieve pain and boost joint function.
How strong your quadriceps are predicts how much pain you will have in an OA knee.
Weight loss (if required)
Obesity is linked to the faster breakdown of cartilage. Losing weight is important for decreasing pain and improving function.
Losing one pound of weight results in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees.
There are some additional treatments that your physiotherapist will use and recommend that may help you in managing your osteoarthritis symptoms including:
Fifth Ave Physio is pleased to be offering the GLA:D Osteoarthritis knee and hip program
Click HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM