Osreoarthritis

ARTHRITIS & JOINT PAIN

WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?

Osteoarthritis

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.

CHANGES IN THE JOINT WITH OSTEOARTHRITIS

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 sometime disappear. Loads are required to regenerate any remaining cartilage to keep it as healthy as possible.

WHO IS AT RISK TO GET OSTEOARTHRITIS?

There are a number of factors that increase your chance of getting OA.

  • Age
  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sports Related Joint Injury
  • Work or Leisure Time Related Joint Injury

WHAT JOINTS ARE THE MOST AFFECTED BY 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.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OA?

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.

  • Pain when moving or loading the joint that can progress to pain at rest and at night
  • Joint stiffness and problems starting your day
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Heat and swelling at the joint
  • Muscle tightness
  • Difficulty moving around

HOW DO YOU TREAT OSTEOARTHRITIS?

Currently there is no known way of curing cartilage loss. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve 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
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.

Additional Treatments
There are some additional treatments that your physiotherapist will use and recommend that may help you in managing your osteoarthritis symptoms including:

  • IMS/Dry needling
  • Joint and soft tissue mobilisations
  • Hot/cold packs
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
  • Acupuncture
  • Walking aids
  • Braces
  • Custom insoles
  • Pharmacological pain relief treatments
  • Cortisone injections

Fifth Ave Physio is pleased to be offering the GLA:D Osteoarthritis knee and hip program
Click HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM

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