How Can Physiotherapy Help Osteoarthritis

Updated: 7 days ago

Read on and see how a physiotherapist can help with osteoarthritis

Around ten percent of Australians suffer from osteoarthritis. It is a chronic disorder that affects joints in the body, mostly in the hips, knees, ankles, spine, and hands. More than any other condition, osteoarthritis is the condition that causes Australians to have hip and knee replacement surgery.

There are things that a physiotherapist can do to relieve pain in the joints and curb the onset of osteoarthritis. A physio can help with osteoarthritis by doing things like working on joint range of motion, strengthening muscles, adjusting posture, and improving balance.

Read on to learn more about what osteoarthritis is, how it impacts the body, and how physiotherapy does help osteoarthritis.

If you have osteoarthritis or are impacted by its symptoms, consider talking to a physiotherapist. At Align Health Collective, our qualified team can help to tailor a plan to reduce pain and increase mobility.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis in which the cushioning protective cartridge on the end of bones starts wearing down. It disproportionately affects women and older people: ⅔ of people with osteoarthritis are female, and joint symptoms are reported by 30% of people over the age of 65. Symptoms can include:

  • Stiffness: Joints can feel stiff and immobile. Flexibility is reduced, and joints might not be able to move freely. This tends to be most noticeable after a period of inactivity, like sleep.

  • Tenderness and pain: Osteoarthritis discomfort can take several forms. During movement, joints can hurt. Applying light pressure to or near the joint might feel tender. There can be a grating sensation when the joint is used.

  • Bone spurs and swelling: Around the affected joint you may notice either soft tissue inflammation, or bone spurs (hard lumps of bone).

Why does exercise help osteoarthritis?

It can feel counterintuitive but exercising through the joint pain of osteoarthritis can be one of the most beneficial options. There are many outcomes from exercise that can be beneficial to managing osteoarthritis. For example:

  • Weight loss: People with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese can benefit enormously from weight loss. Although weight loss won’t result in the regeneration of cartilage, it will reduce the stress on joints like the hip and knee, and this can ease pain and stiffness.

  • Strengthening muscle: Stronger muscles are better at supporting joints, which is especially important in a person with osteoarthritis. There is evidence to indicate that strength training can have a big impact on pain reduction for those with osteoarthritis.

A physiotherapist, who understands osteoarthritis and any other conditions you might have, will be able to draw up an exercise plan to help ameliorate the suffering caused by the condition.

Can a physiotherapist help with arthritis?

Often, a physiotherapist can help with arthritis. Initially, this might take the form of a diagnosis. From there, a physio can design exercises and stretches to make arthritis more manageable. A physio can do this for people with osteoarthritis, and with other forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Additionally, a physiotherapist can help people with arthritis who are suffering from other, non-arthritis-related injuries. Certain exercises to treat things like back pain and tennis elbow might not be appropriate for people with certain kinds of arthritis. However, a qualified physiotherapist will be able to take a holistic approach and design the best possible course of treatment and exercises.

If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, other kinds of arthritis, or symptoms associated with arthritis, consider making an appointment with a physiotherapist. Our team at Align Health Collective can help with expert advice and treatment to give you the best possible quality of life.

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