Osteoarthritis Management: Osteo refers to the bones, and ‘itis’ refers to inflammation of the joint.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that develops gradually over many years, most commonly affecting the hips, knees, hands and spine and less frequently the shoulders.
It was initially thought to be a disease of wear and tear resulting in thinning of the joint cartilage lining our joints, but current research has shown the condition affects the entire joint including the joint capsule, meniscus, ligaments and subchondral bone.
It can be caused or influenced by risk factors including;
- Previous injury to the joint.
- Being over-weight.
- Doing repeated heavy work.
- Joints having weak muscular support resulting in excessive loading.
- Age, gender and hereditary factors.
Osteoarthritis is typically diagnosed by reduced joint space on X-ray combined with symptoms of;
- Morning stiffness+/- pain lasting up to 30 mins.
- Reduced Joint mobility.
- Gradual loss of muscle strength due to pain.
- Difficulty loading the joint, e.g. standing from sitting, stepping up and down stairs, standing or walking for long periods.
- Difficulty bending to put socks on.
- Gradual loss of grip strength, i.e. to open jars.
Did You Know:
X-rays are not a good indicator of pain or disability– a joint with x-ray evidence of reduced joint space can be symptom-free while a painful and swollen looking joint may have no loss of joint space at all on x-ray.
Osteoarthritic joints love movement!
Large amplitude movements with reduced load or compression are really beneficial for moving the synovial fluid around the joint to provide lubrication and nutrition to the joint.
Arthroscopic surgery has been shown to increase the rate of arthritic change and therefore is no longer supported by Medicare.
Good muscle control supports arthritic joints and allows better function.
Research shows that exercise helps, is safe, and can even increase cartilage thickness
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners clinical practice guidelines states:
“We strongly recommend offering land-based exercise for all people with knee and hip OA to improve function and pain regardless of their age, structural disease severity, functional status or pain levels.”
At Eastern Sports and Spinal Care, we run a specific evidence-based exercise program for hip and knee arthritis called GLA:D ( Good Life with Arthritis in Denmark). Due to its great results, it is now being taught worldwide.
The gold standard treatment for osteoarthritis before any injection therapy or surgery is
- Weight loss and
At Eastern Sports and Spinal Care, the hip and knee arthritis program follows the best practice guidelines in accordance with GLA:D to help reduce pain, improve joint confidence improve quality of life and remove or reduce the need for surgery even in severe cases for up to 2 years.
The program involves tailoring specific exercise for each individual based on their particular problems and limitations in activities of daily living and the goals they wish to achieve. Even if joints are painful and function is poor, we can work with you to find exercises that are suitable for you and can assist in reducing pain and improving function.
Research shows that rest and avoiding activity only makes the pain worse and leads to poorer function.
With severe osteoarthritis when surgery is the only option, those who have completed a pre-surgical exercise program like Gla:d recover more quickly than those who don’t.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for recommendations for managing your arthritis or for more information on the GLA:D program