Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, affecting more Canadians than all other forms. OA is defined as a disease that gradually affects the whole joint and leads to the breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. (Cartilage is the tough elastic material that covers and protects the ends of bones). It has often been referred to as wear and tears disease.
OA can cause changes in the bone and deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and those that attach muscle to bone. It also causes inflammation of the joint lining. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, big toe, spine, hips and knees. With Knees being the most affected followed by the hips.
Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a result of the body’s failed attempt to repair itself. Factors that can increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:
- While the risk of OA does increase with age, OA is not an “old person’s disease”. Younger individuals can also have OA and nearly ⅓ of people under the age of 45 have been diagnosed with OA. Over 4 million or 1/7 Canadians suffer from OA.
- Gender: Women are at higher risk of getting OA although the reason is unclear.
- Extra body weight, previous joint injuries from sports or accidents and overall repeated stress to the joints increase the risk of OA.
- Genetics does play a factor and some people can inherit a tendency to develop Osteoarthritis.
- Boney deformity where individuals were born with a malformation in the joint or cartilage, and certain metabolic diseases such as diabetes increase your risk of developing Osteoarthritis.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of OA:
- Pain. Affected joints might hurt during or after movement.
- Stiffness. Joint stiffness might be most noticeable upon awakening or after being inactive.
- Tenderness. Your joint might feel tender when you apply light pressure to or near it.
- Loss of flexibility. You might not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
- Grating sensation. You might feel a grating sensation when you use the joint, and you might hear popping or crackling.
- Bone spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, can form around the affected joint.
- Swelling. This might be caused by soft tissue inflammation around the joint
When to see a Physiotherapist
If you have joint pain or stiffness that doesn’t go away, make an appointment with a Physiotherapist.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are many things that can help with symptom relief and improve overall function. Research has shown that early intervention using education, exercise, and manual therapy can reduce or eliminate pain and increase function.
Our Physiotherapist will educate you about osteoarthritis, activity modification and overall joint function as these are important to successfully manage joint health. It is absolutely important to understand the underlying cause of the condition with regards to each individual in order to develop a personalized plan that is effective to minimize ongoing damage. Minimizing overall joint stress to preserve cartilage health by correcting joint alignment, posture and improving muscle strength and control is of importance to properly support the joint.
Exercise to improve strength, increase flexibility, and maintain ideal body weight, is fundamental in osteoarthritis management. Effective exercise programming is best guided by a Registered Physiotherapist who can cater the plan to individual needs, abilities, and joint function. Additionally, hands-on manual therapy techniques provided by a physiotherapist to improve joint mobility and release muscle restrictions can reduce pain and improve range of motion.
If you think you have osteoarthritis or are experiencing joint discomfort, talk with your physiotherapist about the best management strategies for your individual situation. The sooner osteoarthritis is identified and managed, the more success one will have with treatment. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
I would be happy to help you to achieve your goals, Book Your Appointment to get started. Don’t let pain ruin your day!
By: Preya Ramdass. PT
Clinic Owner, Registered Physiotherapist. Acupuncture & Dry Needling Provider. Clinical Pilates Instructor.
Integrative Physiotherapy is a Barrie-based clinic that believes in a one-on-one patient-centred, manual therapy (hands-on) approach to physiotherapy. We aim to empower our patients by providing quality care that is personalized to each patient in an interactive and friendly manner. Through the use of the best available treatment techniques, we aim to provide exceptional care so that each patient feels engaged and motivated.
Our therapists are continually upgrading their skills and taking time to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment techniques that are always one on one without the use of assistants or double booking patients to make sure that you achieve your functional and sports goals as soon as possible.
Our therapists would be happy to help you to achieve your goals, get in touch to schedule your appointment. Don’t let pain ruin your day!
Integrative Physiotherapy, Empowering Patients with Personalized Care.