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OSTEOARTHRITIS – THE WHO, WHAT & HOW

THE WHAT

Osteoarthritis is one of the most prevalent conditions resulting in disability, particularly in the elderly population.

It’s the most common articular disease of the developed world and a leading cause of chronic disability, mostly as a consequence of knee and/or hip OA.i

Individuals affected by osteoarthritis are not only affected physically but the economic costs are high; due to treatment, home modifications and adaptions, and time off work.

Osteoarthritis is characterised by

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • affecting the hands, knees and hips.i

There is currently no cure for OA, but there are many treatments and approaches to managing the long-term symptoms of this disease.i

THE WHO

OA most frequently occurs in people aged >55 years, although younger people can also be affected. Risk factors for OA include:

  • joint injury,
  • being overweight or obese,
  • Older age. i

As the population ages, and increased rates of obesity, the number of Australians with OA is expected to rise from 2.2 million in 2015 to almost 3.1 million by 2030.i

THE HOW

As mentioned earlier, osteoarthritis can be brought upon by certain risk factors, with this in mind, its important to understand that it involves multiple causative factors like;

  • trauma
  • mechanical forces
  • inflammation
  • biochemical reactions

metabolic derangements. When parts of the joint change, such as the joint capsule and ligaments, this can cause the pain and inflammation in the affected area. As the disease progresses, the structures are affected and changes including bone remodelling, osteophyte formation (extra bone growth), weakening of the periarticular muscles, laxity of ligaments and synovial effusion can be evident.ii

THE MANAGEMENT – HOW CAN PHYSIO HELP?

  • Education – Provide you with the understanding of what is happening to your body and why, and how you can assist in self-managing your osteoarthritis
  • Exercise therapy – creating a tailored exercise program to ensure regular exercise for relieving pain and improving function. Land-based exercises, e.g. strengthening and walking, are highly recommended by research. Aquatic exercise/Hydrotherapy may also be considered for some!i
  • Weight Management – education regarding the effect of load on your joints, exercise prescription and/or referral to our dietician are some aspects of weight management, a strongly recommended point for people with OA who are overweight
  • Manual therapy and Massage – Can be used to help relieve the area and promote movement of the joint for some people.i

If you’re or someone you know are suspecting that they might have knee osteoarthritis or have confirmed they do, let them know that our Physiotherapists at Optimum Health Solutions are here to speak to them, and run them through a thorough assessment and treatment using the current evidence to help them out.

1: RACGP. (2018). Guideline for the management of knee and hip OA 2nd edition. RACGP.

https://www.racgp.org.au/download/Documents/Guidelines/Musculoskeletal/guideline-for-the-management-of-knee-and-hip-oa-2nd-edition.pdf

2: Mora, J. C., Przkora, R., & Cruz-Almeida, Y. (2018). Knee osteoarthritis: pathophysiology and current treatment modalities. Journal of pain research11, 2189–2196. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S154002

3: Heidari B. (2011). Knee osteoarthritis prevalence, risk factors, pathogenesis and features: Part I. Caspian journal of internal medicine2(2), 205–212.

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