As the rates of aging populations and obesity is on the rise, the total number of people suffering from chronic joint conditions including osteoarthritis is expected to nearly double between 2005 and 2030. Osetoarthritis, however does not affect only the older people and overweight people. People who have very active lifestyle, particularly those who play sports can be affected as well.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a joint disorder involving the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments and underlying bone. The deterioration of these tissues eventually leads to pain and joint stiffness.
Sometimes, osteoarthritis is called ‘wear and tear arthritis’. Osteoarthritis most often affects the weight-bearing joints such as your knees, hips, feet and spine. However, it can also affect your fingers, base of your thumbs, elbows, shoulders or any other joint in your body.
Cartilage is a slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to smoothly glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks and wears away. When cartilage wears down, your bones rub together, leading to joint damage.
The bones degenerate as we age, which is why osteoarthritis is common in older people. Overweight people are also at risk of having osteoarthritis due to the weight that causes more wear and tear. Playing sports also places stress on the joints because of direct impact and other movements such as twisting or throwing.
Other factors that can cause osteoarthritis include genetics, joint injuries, occupational activities, bone deformities, and certain diseases such as diabetes and rheumatic diseases.
The severity of the symptoms can differ from person to person and between different affected joints. For some, symptoms may be mild and may come and go, whilst others may experience more continuous and severe problems.
Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, tenderness, stiffness, loss of flexibility, grating sensation, and bone spurs. If joint pain or stiffness occurs more than a few weeks, better see your doctor.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. There are treatments that can help reduce pain and maintain joint movement. These include medications, therapies, surgery, and other procedures such as cortisone shots and lubrication injections.
How Physiotherapy Helps
Physiotherapy as a discipline is effective in managing symptoms of osteoarthritis. A physiotherapist can teach you exercises to improve the flexibility in your joints without damaging them.
Physiotherapy mainly focuses in preserving good range of motion to maintain the ability to do daily activities. Strengthening weakened muscles around the joints is essential as strong muscles can stabilise a joint.
Physiotherapists give exercises designed to preserve the strength and function of your joints. They can teach you effective ways to shift from one position to another. They can show you how to use walking aids such as cane, brace or crutches.
The goal of physiotherapy is to get you back to the state of being able to perform normal everyday activities without difficulty.
Having osteoarthritis doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy life. We can help you. Call us on 9272 7359 today!