NB Allied Health

Osteoarthritis and the Benefit of Mobile Physiotherapy

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the most common form of arthritis affecting 1 in 11 Australians. Previously OA was thought to be a wear and tear disease causing cartilage loss within the joint, we now know that OA can affect the entirety of the joint including the bone, muscle, and other soft tissue. 

Risk factors include lack of physical activity and muscle weakness, older age, female gender, being over-weight, joint injury commonly associated with occupation (manual labour type tasks), and high-impact sport. OA usually presents with joint pain and loss of function, which can have a varying impact on your life depending on the severity of symptoms.

How we can help!

Physiotherapy is a common first-line treatment to help manage the symptoms and function loss related to OA. As Physiotherapists, we will be able to assess your affected joints for specific limitations and put together a holistic picture of how it is affecting your body as a whole, and your day-to-day tasks. 

Once we have a complete picture of how OA is affecting you, we can build targeted exercise plans to help you build strength, maintain or increase function, prescribe gait aids to offload the joints, and provide manual therapy to keep the joint mobile to increase functionality. Common exercises for hip and knee OA include step-ups, calf raises, sit-to-stands, and balance exercises, which help to strengthen the muscles used for everyday tasks such as walking. 

Pain associated with OA is often the target of most Physiotherapy treatment, which can be managed with exercise of an appropriate intensity. Building the muscles surrounding the affected joint or limb can help to change the amount of stress the joint is under and where the stress is placed on the joint which can help reduce symptoms of pain. Mobilizing the joint and stretching the surrounding soft tissue can also be effective in managing pain by helping to keep the tissues at an optimal length and gliding smoothly throughout the movement. 

If you are experiencing joint pain, a Physiotherapist is the perfect person to help you work out if OA may be the culprit and guide you on your journey to better movement and overall higher quality of life.

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