Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative process that results in the deterioration of the joint surfaces causing swelling, pain and stiffness. It is not simply an age related change but a degenerative joint condition. OA can affect people in their 40’s but is much more common in our 60’s, 70’s and beyond. The effects of OA vary greatly between individuals ranging from minor aches, pain and morning stiffness to disabling pain. When OA joint changes are severe total joint replacement surgery is often performed to relieve pain and return function.
Physiotherapy management of Osteoarthritis
Physiotherapy treatment of osteoarthritis can help to:
- Reduce pain
- Improve movement
- Strengthen muscles
- Increase independent function
- Prevent complications
- Reduce rate of deterioration
Exercise balanced with rest, education and use of splints, gait aides and proper medication is often very effective in controlling symptoms and promoting function.
If symptoms are severe, individual therapy may be necessary. Individual physiotherapy treatment can include the use of:
- Ice or heat
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Joint mobilizations
- Electrical therapy
- Hot wax