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Exercise as Gold Standard for Osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteo (bone) Arth (Joint) Itis (Inflammation).

In short it stands for, bone & joint inflammation. The process begins with wear of the intra-articular cartilage inside the joint (knee, hip shoulder etc). Then an inflammatory process begins around the area where cartilage has worn away. This can cause pain and signs of inflammation – heat, redness or swelling. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis amongst people in the UK. Symptoms include morning joint stiffness, joint swelling, muscle tightness and weakness and restricted joint movement.

There are many factors that can contribute to Osteoarthritis:

  • Age related changes
  • Obesity
  • Manual Labour job roles (carrying, lifting, repetitive bending or tasks).
  • Congenital (birth) defects to joints
  • Trauma (past fractures / ligament ruptures)
  • Family history (It can run in families)

The NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines to healthcare professionals regarding patients with OA simply states, “exercise to be prescribed to people with osteoarthritis as core treatment irrespective of age, co-morbidity, pain severity or disability”.

Exercise is the gold standard for people with Osteoarthritis, focusing mainly on localised strengthening and general aerobic exercise. If you are going through a flare-up of your arthritis pain, switching running or weight training for swimming or cycling may be beneficial as they are less impact and will cause less aggravation to the joints.

At Mike Varney Physiotherapy, we can offer advice on how to strengthen your muscles and reduce the pressure on the joints to get you back to being fit and active. We recommend an assessment before starting to exercise to ensure you are knowledgeable about condition management. Our clinicians can help you to understand the condition, manage your pain, strengthen and condition around the affected joint and ensure you are wearing correct footwear.

Our Therapists can utilise joint mobilisation, stretching, strengthening, electrotherapy, condition education, individualise exercise prescription for strengthening to improve your quality of life.

If you have any questions or think you may have arthritis book yourself a session with one of our dedicated team today – call 01279 414 959!

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