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Osteoarthritis Physiotherapy & Exercises

Osteoarthritis Physiotherapy & Exercises

Osteoarthritis is an exceedingly common condition that affects up to 1 in 5 people at some point in their life - causing pain, discomfort and a loss of mobility in the joints. Our Nepean physiotherapists are able to treat osteoarthritis through a number of treatments and, here, we explain more. 

While it may more commonly be referred to as only 'arthritis,' osteoarthritis is actually the most common form of the broader umbrella of arthritis conditions. 

Our physiotherapists are able to work with your primary care physician and with you to coordinate our care, treatment and prescribed exercises to your fitness goals, to your pain management needs and to your long-term quality of life. 

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the inflammation of the joints in the body, most commonly load-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. This inflammation is caused by the deterioriation of the tissues and strctures that help to keep joints healthy and functioning properly. 

It's estimated that up to 1 in 4 people in North America may develop osteoarthritis at some point in their lifetime and, while osteoarthritis doesn't require surgery to treat, joint replacement procedures are possible treatments for this condition if it grows to a severe stage. 

This condition affects the day-to-day life of someone with it and, because of this, day-to-day management strategies are important to ensuring osteoarthritis can be adequately managed.

Some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint stiffness, especially after getting out of bed, which may ease in about half an hour
  • Joint stiffness after lying or sitting down for a long period
  • Pain during activity that isn't releievd by rest
  • A creaking, crunching or cracking joint noise when they are moved
  • Joint pain when that part of the body experiences pressure
  • Increased bone growth around an affected joint

How can physiotherapy treat osteoarthritis?

Research has shown that light to moderate activities such as walking, biking, or swimming can actually provide a much greater benefit to the joints of people with osteoarthritis than the discomfort they may cause. Activity can help to preserve the function of your joints, but it's important that any activity that you undertake is carefully planned and doesn't involve you overexerting yourself and becoming injured or losing mobility in the long term. 

That's where our Nepean physiotherapists come in. 

While the initial diagnosis of osteoarthritis will need to come from a doctor, once you are certain that is the condition that is affecting your joints, there is plenty that a physical therapy centre can do for your discomfort and well-being.

Firstly we will conduct an assessment of your condition, symptoms and needs, including:

  • Examining and assessing your movement to determine the extent of your symptoms
  • Observe and record what activities are causing your difficulty

Based on these, we will design an individualized exercise program designed to address your needs and improve your movement and mobility. Some of the most common interventions that we use are:

  • Manual therapy and adjustments of your movement to improve your mobility and help to alleviate some discomfort in affected joints
  • Provide suggestions of modifying your movement and adjusting your work and living spaces to lessen the strain on your joints
  • Recommend lifestyle changes that will support your long-term health
  • Develop and teach you a home exercise program to improve your strength, encourage your good health and support your movement

What exercises are prescribed to treat osteoarthritis?

The specific exercise our physical therapists will prescribe to clients with osteoarthritis will be entirely dependent on the specific case. Depending on what joints are affected and how far along the condition is in its development, our physiotherapists will prescribe different exercises to target the individual needs. 

With that being said, the following are some of the most commonly prescribed kinds of exercises at our Nepean physiotherapy clinics:

  • Flexibility and Range of Motion Exercises - Including hamstring and hip flexor stretches
  • Strength and Resistance Exercises - Including bridges, wall squats and step-ups
  • Endurance and Aerobic Exercises - Including walking or swimming

Always wait for a physiotherapist's prescription of an exercise before engaging in targeted exercises for osteoarthritis. If you attempt exercises without consulting your physiotherapist, you may cause injury and pain!

Are you suffering from osteoarthritis and looking for treatment? 

We can help you recover bodily function and reduce pain.

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Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.

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