Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff. It is otherwise known as the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis and usually develops gradually over time. It has no specific known cause but history of an injury to a joint can trigger it, even several years later.
OA develops when changes in the cartilage (soft tissue that protects the end of bones) happen, which then affects how the joint works. It can occur at any age but is more common as we get older.
OA is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of pain and disability. It is estimated that around 7 million people in the UK suffer with OA. Almost any joint can be affected but is most seen in the joints that bear weight – our hips, knees and spine for example.
The main symptoms of pain and stiffness can make it difficult to move and therefore carry out certain activities. Symptoms can be variable but in more serious cases they can be continuous. Other symptoms you may notice are:
- Cracking or grating sensation in your joints
- Tenderness of the joint
- Muscle wasting/weakness
- Loss of range of movement (i.e. unable to straighten the joint properly)
- The joint ‘giving way’
- Increase in pain and stiffness when you have not moved for a while
Unfortunately, OA cannot be cured but it can settle down after several years and there are many options to relieve your symptoms.
Recent guidelines published by NICE the ‘National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’ state that ‘’ Adults with OA are advised to participate in muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises’’ and that ‘’Exercises is a core treatment for OA that may improve joint pain and function.’’
Exercise to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint can support and protect that joint. Aerobic exercises aim to improve general mobility, function, fitness and well-being. Cycling and swimming are good examples.
Here at SB Sports Injury & Physiotherapy clinic we can carry out a full assessment of your symptoms and the effect they have on your daily life. Your physio will then be able to prescribe a tailored exercises programme designed to work the specific muscles that can protect your joints. Advice can also be given a general exercises programme suitable for your specific needs and abilities. All our physios have over 10 years’ experience and male and female therapists are available. Early morning and evening appointments are available at the clinic. We also offer a home visiting service should you find it difficult to attend the clinic.