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Osteoarthritis Physiotherapy: Symptoms & Treatment

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people worldwide, particularly the elderly. Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis by improving joint function, reducing pain, and promoting overall mobility.

As with all injuries, this information is simply a guide, and it is always best to check in with a Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to have a personalized assessment and hear recommendations for what you and your body may specifically need.

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. Osteoarthritis is the form of arthritis that involves the degeneration of the cartilage lining on the ends of bones. Cartilage is a flexible connective tissue which covers and protects the ends of our bones, allowing fluid joint movement and cushioning bones and joints against impact. With age and use, cartilage wears down, preventing the joint from functioning well. When the cartilage has worn down due to osteoarthritis, the result is usually pain, stiffness (especially in the morning or after periods of rest), and swelling.

The natural reaction to pain is to use the affected joint less. If you follow this plan, you will begin a negative cycle where inactivity leads to decreased range of motion and a weakening of the muscles around the joint. When the muscles are weaker, they are less able to support the joint which means more pressure to the boney surfaces and an increase in pain. When range of motion is reduced, function is limited, and it can be more painful to carry out your activities of daily living.

Benefits Of Physiotherapy for Osteoarthritis

Physiotherapy can be an effective approach to treating the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. As a qualified sports medicine doctor or physiotherapist will tell you, physical therapy can help to reduce pain, improve joint mobility and increase muscle strength. It is also known to reduce inflammation and delay the progression of joint deterioration.

Physiotherapy has been proven to be beneficial for those suffering from osteoarthritis, helping patients to move more comfortably and participate in activities they may have thought were no longer possible. The goal of physiotherapy is to provide pain relief while educating patients on how best to manage their condition through exercises and lifestyle changes that can help them get the most benefit from their treatments. This includes improving flexibility and balance as well as strengthening muscles in order to support joints affected by osteoarthritis. Patients can also learn how to modify activities that cause further discomfort or lead to a worsening of symptoms. By working together with a qualified physiotherapist, patients can gain greater control over their well-being and quality of life.

Osteoarthritis Treatments

When it comes to treatments for osteoarthritis, physiotherapy plays a major role. Exercise therapy is typically the first line of treatment for this condition, as it helps to improve strength and reduce pain. Exercises should be tailored according to the individual patient’s needs in order to maximize effectiveness. Other treatments that may be used include acupuncture therapy, electrical stimulation, joint mobilization, and heat treatment.

Exercise therapy can help build muscle strength and improve flexibility around the affected joints. This can help improve function and reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. Acupuncture has been found to provide pain relief in some cases; however more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be made. Electrical stimulation has also been used in the treatment of osteoarthritis with positive results. Joint mobilization is a technique used by physiotherapists to increase joint range of motion and decrease stiffness around the affected area. Heat treatments such as hot packs or baths are also beneficial for relieving inflammation and improving blood flow in affected areas.

All these treatments need to be discussed between patients and healthcare providers in order to determine which one best meets their individual needs and goals. It is important that an exercise program specific for osteoarthritis is established under professional guidance for maximum effectiveness and safety, as well as regular follow-ups with a healthcare provider over time to monitor progress and adjust treatment when necessary.

Long-Term Care

The long-term care of osteoarthritis is a key component of successful management. Patients need to be aware that the pain and disability associated with the condition tend to worsen over time, and therefore regular follow-up with a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor is essential. The goal of long-term care is to reduce pain, improve physical function, and slow progression of joint damage. Treatment plans typically include lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, exercise, and activity modification; medications; injections; assistive devices; and education about the condition and proper self-care.

Physical therapy interventions for osteoarthritis can play an important role in managing pain and improving functional mobility. Exercises should focus on stretching tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles to optimize joint stability, improving posture, increasing range of motion, promoting balance and coordination, decreasing inflammation, increasing endurance levels for daily activities, improving gait mechanics and decreasing muscle spasms. Additionally, manual therapy techniques such as massage may be used to reduce pain and improve range of motion in affected joints. A comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the individual's needs will help ensure successful long-term management of osteoarthritis.

Your Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist can help you maintain range of motion and strength around your joint, thereby reducing or eliminating symptoms. Manual therapy will be focused on joint mobilization to free up the joint, passive range of motion to achieve greater range of motion and an exercise program to maintain strength in the muscles around the affected joint. Sometimes, a custom knee brace is recommended to help take the stress off the parts of the knee that are most affected. Your Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist can also discuss possible modifications to lifestyle and healthy strategies and assistive devices to reduce the impact of osteoarthritis on your life.

Registered Massage Therapy can also be beneficial in maintaining a symptom fee lifestyle while living with osteoarthritis. Your Massage Therapist can release the soft tissues around your affected joint, helping you to reduce pain and restore better range of motion and, therefore, function.

Contact Us For Help

Inertia Physio+ offers Kanata and Stittsville exceptional Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy with private treatment rooms, one on one care, a maximum of two patients per hour and treatment focused on the evidence-based practices of manual and exercise therapy. Don’t suffer any longer.  If you have pain or injury, our Kanata and Stittsville Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy, and Registered Massage Therapy team is here to help you get back to living pain-free life and activities.  Please reach out to us at (613) 672-2200 or for an appointment today! You are also welcome to book online. We also offer direct billing on Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy services whenever your plan allows.


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