What is it?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affect the joints, most often the hip, knees and shoulders, but other joints can be affected too. Approximately one million people see their GP with symptoms of osteoarthritis every year.

The condition can cause the soft tissues in the joints to become inflamed, and sometimes the cartilage can become damaged and worn in places, little bony growths called osteophytes can form inside the joints which can cause movement to become very painful.

The main features of osteoarthritis is pain and stiffness in the joints. People tend to begin to restrict their activity levels because of the pain, but this can cause muscles to weaken, and a person’s fitness and general levels of conditioning can deteriorate which can cause a vicious circle of pain/inactivity/deconditioning/more pain.

What can we do for it?

Whilst there is no specific cure for osteoarthritis, there are many proactive steps a person can take to reduce the impact the condition has on their quality of life. We can advise people on appropriate exercises to do, not only to maintain or improve fitness levels, but to optimise the quality of the movement of the joints affected. It is very common for muscles around the sore joint to become tight, or weakened, which affects the joint’s ability to move fluidly and with good support. This can put more pressure on it, and cause the pain to worsen. 

It is very common for someones’s pain and function to improve just by following some simple, specifically designed exercises.

Acupuncture can also help reduce pain, to allow someone to start to get more active again, specific manual therapy can also help improve the movement quality of the joint, which can also reduce pain.

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