Pain in your joints getting you down?
Here’s what it could be and how we can help …
What is Osteoarthritis?
Most would have heard of the condition Osteoarthritis, but what really is it? Osteoarthritis is a condition which affects the joints in our bodies, most commonly the knees, hips, low back, neck and joints in the fingers and toes. The condition affects all aspects of the joint, but in the earlier stages of the condition it will typically involve the articular cartilage. The cartilage surrounding the end of our joints, which typically provides “cushioning” between our bones, can begin to break down. There can additionally be an inflammatory response of the body which can continue to break down and further damage the cartilage and eventually the bone.
The severity and symptoms can be variable amongst individuals, but most commonly it will present as joint pain and loss of movement/function of that joint. With consideration of the severity of the condition, a patient’s ability to perform daily activities and tasks can be severely impacted and limited as a result.
What causes or contributes to Osteoarthritis?
There is no one specific cause of Osteoarthritis, but instead it develops from an interplay of multiple risk factors. Such risk factors include age, genetics, gender, weight, muscle weakness, joint mechanics/injury or mechanical stress.
Age is a huge contributing factor to the development of osteoarthritis, and it is not restricted to a specific age group. However, prevalence increases substantially from the age of 45 years, with those aged 80 years and older as the most common population to have the condition.
Genetics have also been shown to have contributed to an individual’s likelihood of getting osteoarthritis, with females being the unfortunate gender to be more likely in comparison to males.
How can Physiotherapy help?
The general treatment goals for osteoarthritis are to reduce pain and minimize/prevent functional loss, therefore physiotherapy can play an important role in achieving such goals. Physiotherapists can implement passive treatment/modalities and provide recommendations for pain management. Prescription of an individualised exercise program can also be implemented to improve strength, mobility, aerobic fitness, balance and maintain a healthy body weight. If you would like to learn more about what’s best for you and start your management journey, then please contact our clinics to book in an appointment with one of our physiotherapists now!