Arthritis – Physio Treatment Options

Arthritis is a condition that affects millions worldwide. Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that affects the joints throughout the body. There is a layer of cartilage that lines the bones of our joints. As we age, this cartilage loses water and becomes less resilient and more susceptible to wear and tear. Once this cartilage layer starts to degenerate, bone becomes damaged beneath this cartilage and bone spurs bone may form causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is common in hands, feet, spine and especially weight bearing joints such as hips and knees. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. Pain is often worse when it’s cold and when weight is put through the joint (ie: walking). In those with mild to moderate arthritis, the pain usually gets better after moving about or “warming up”.   Physiotherapy can help those suffering from osteoarthritis. While you cannot change the fact that the arthritis has developed, physio can help with the pain, lack of strength and reduced mobility that is associated with arthritis. ‘Hands on’ physio, such as soft tissue massage to the muscles about the affected joint, can help relieve any tightness and restore movement. Your physiotherapist can also provide you with some simple exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the joint to ensure that the joint is moving as freely as possible. These exercises are also important to strengthen those muscles to ensure there is enough strength to minimise any unnecessary strain on the joint in future. Physiotherapy can help delay the need for a knee replacement.   By Jessica Norton

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