Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also known as degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis and occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees. Osteoarthritis is caused by damage or breakdown of joint cartilage between bones, and has a higher chance of affecting people above the age of 50 but there are people who suffer from early onset osteoarthritis.
Common Osteoarthritis symptoms include:
- Joint pain that gradually worsens
- Joint stiffness and pain after periods of inactivity
- Inflammation or tenderness
- Popping, grating or crackling sounds with joint movement
- Limited range of movement in joints
- Joints appear slightly larger or more swollen than usual
Assessment And Diagnosis
Osteoarthritis is often a slow-developing disease that can be hard to diagnose until it starts to cause painful or debilitating symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of Osteoarthritis, you should first visit your medical practitioner and get an X-ray scan to understand the complexity of your injury. If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, our physiotherapists will perform an initial assessment to confirm the severity of your injury, then accordingly create a recovery plan catered to your requirements.
Osteoarthritis can generally be subdivided into 5 grades:
- Grade 1: Normal knee health
- Grade 2: Minor bone spur growth, no noticeable discomfort
- Grade 3: Pain and stiffness after walking, mild severity
- Grade 4: Moderate Osteoarthritis, frequent pain during movement, onset of other symptoms
- Grade 5: Severe Osteoarthritis, high levels of pain and discomfort in the knee
Treatments for Osteoarthritis include surgical and conservative management.
The main focus in non-surgical Osteoarthritis management is on promoting self-management through, reducing pain, optimising function, and modifying the disease process and its effects. This can all be achieved with proper exercise therapy.
Therapy will include:
- Exercise therapy – low impact exercises
- Stretching activities
- Heat and cold therapy
- Patient education
- Soft tissue and manual therapy to ease pain
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