What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common chronic conditions of the joints. In OA the cartilage, bone, ligaments and muscle are all affected. Often OA is described as “wear and tear” on the joint, now it is thought to be the result of the joint working hard to repair itself.

OA may include:

  • inflammation of the tissue around the joint;
  • damage to joint cartilage – this is the protective
    cushion which helps absorb shock and allows smooth movements;
  • bony spurs; and
  • deterioration of ligaments and tendons.

Research has shown there are some risk factors that increase your risk of developing OA, which include:

  • Previous injury;
  • Jobs involving lifting heavy weight, kneeling, climbing, squatting;
  • Family history of OA;
  • Being overweight; and
  • Repetitive use.

OA can affect any joint, however, the most common joints affected are hips, knees, fingers, hands, big toe and spine. OA can develop at any age, it is most common in individuals over the age of 40, or those who have had joint injuries previously. Symptoms of OA can be very individualised. The most common symptoms are pain and joint stiffness, other symptoms of OA can include loss of joint flexibility, clicking noises or grating sensations.

How is OA diagnosed?

A GP can generally diagnose OA based on reported symptoms and a physical examination of the affected joint. Persistent pain, joint stiffness for more than 30 minutes, reduced function, joint crepitus (grating sound), restricted motion and bony enlargements are six key features that lead to a confident diagnosis of OA. Further testing can be conducted to aid in the diagnosis of OA, these include X-ray, MRI, and blood tests.

How can Activate Health help you?

Here at Activate Health we are passionate about providing top quality Exercise Physiology to ensure all our clients receive the care and outcomes they deserve. Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPSs) are trained to provide evidence-based exercise interventions to individuals at high risk of developing, or with existing, chronic conditions and injuries. OA Research shows that exercise benefits individual with wide range of OA severities. Exercise has been shown to be just as effective as pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication in relieving symptoms of OA. Using exercise as a medicine, our team can help you:-

  • Decrease pain;
  • Increase muscle strength;
  • Improve range of movement;
  • Improve balance;
  • Prevent deconditioning (loss of fitness and muscle wasting);
  • Improve physical function; and
  • Improve general wellbeing.

Recommendations for people suffering with OA are to exercise 4 – 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes. It is important to exercise slowly and progress gradually. Strength and aerobic exercise are recommended forms for people with OA. Hydrotherapy (water) exercise is highly recommended for people with OA, as the water buoyancy minuses the load placed on the joints and reduces pain on weight-bearing. It is highly recommended that before starting exercise you receive a comprehensive assessment by an AEP to ensure safe exercise procedures are followed.

Talk to you Doctor today to request a Chronic Care Plan referral for bulk billed consultations here at Activate Health. We also take private bookings which can be partially covered by you private health fund. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any enquires on 07 4939 5696.