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Osteoarthritis Management

  |   Health   |   1 Comment

Part of the normal process of aging includes gradual articular cartilage deterioration. Cartilage matrix weakens, develops cracks and fissures, and in some cases, will flake off, leaving bone exposed. In some people, this gradual process can lead to inflammation, joint instability, and subsequent further degeneration. People tell me every day “don’t get old”, but with little in terms of an alternative, we must manage with what we have.
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent joint disease and one of the most common causes of disability worldwide. While primarily an age-related disease, it can also affect younger individuals with a history of joint trauma.
We are all living with joint degeneration as we get older. For some, this process of degeneration happens more quickly and that depends on hereditary factors, history of disease or trauma, mechanics, etc. It affects how we function independently. Our ability to function depends on our pain tolerance, strength, living environment, (ie number of stairs), and the help we have from others in our lives.

Function vs Time infographic
Here is a graphical representation of how joint function deteriorates over time. Eventually, function may decline to the point where assistance is needed (indicated at the threshold above). It is then that people will call their family doctor or physiotherapist. Treatment can restore function to the point above the threshold where independence and self-management can be achieved. Over time, of course, function continues to decline and further management may be required. Our job is to assist you in staying active and independent above that threshold.

As someone suffering from knee or hip osteoarthritis you may start to have difficulty ascending stairs, walking a certain distance, or getting in and out of the car. It is at this threshold of tolerance that people call us or their family doctor for help. You may be diagnosed with osteoarthritis, but not bad enough to get a joint replacement. Problems like pain and inflammation can be addressed conservatively with prescriptions, and mechanical problems like stiffness, weakness, and physical functioning can also be addressed with physiotherapy.

physiotherapy management of osteoarthritis infographic

By setting goals in physiotherapy, we can improve your ability to function in your daily life and get you back to what you enjoyed doing. We can’t reverse damage to your joints but we can improve function and reduce pain.

Some of the goals we set in physiotherapy are as follows:

  • reduce pain and reduce intake of pain and antiinflammatory medications
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve level of fitness, strength, and joint range of motion
  • Reduce stiffness
  • improve activity tolerance so you have energy to do what you love
  • Protect joints and improve stability so reduce further cartilage damage
  • Improve quality of life

Using exercise and education we can flatten the trajectory of decline in function and keep you independent.

See The Arthritis Society for more information and call us for a consultation.

  • Angelina | Aug 19, 2022 at 4:24 am

    This blog information was very helpful. I have learned a lot from this blog. Please keep posting blogs like this, so people can find what they want.

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