Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the most common type of arthritis, especially in older people. It usually occurs slowly over many years, although there are occasional exceptions. Treatment and management of osteoarthritis with physical therapy is effective because it strengthens muscles, improves joint flexibility, reduces pain, and enhances overall mobility, helping patients maintain an active, functional lifestyle.

If you have pain, inflammation and grinding in your joints, book an appointment with a Physiotherapist at The Back Clinic to help reduce falls and fractures, and make doing daily tasks easier.

There are two main types of osteoarthritis: 

Primary – This is the most common and generalized. It primarily affects the fingers, thumbs, spine, hips, knees, and the big toes.

Secondary – This type occurs in conjunction with a pre-existing joint abnormality, including injury or trauma, such as repetitive or sports-related; inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid, psoriatic, or gout; infectious arthritis; genetic joint disorders. 

Symptoms of osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Symptoms include: 

  • Pain – Affected joints may ache during or after movement.
  • Stiffness – Stiffness of the joints may be most noticeable after waking or after prolonged inactivity.
  • Tenderness – Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it or nearby.
  • Loss of range of motion – You may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
  • Grating sensation – You may feel a grinding sensation when you use the joint, and you may hear a popping or crackling sound.
  • Bone spurs – These extra pieces of bone that feel like hard lumps may form around the affected joint.
  • Swelling – This may be caused by soft tissue inflammation around the joint. 

Cause of osteoarthritis 

Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that allows joints to move almost frictionless against one another. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in your joints gradually breaks down. When the cartilage is completely worn away, bone eventually rubs against bone. Some causes and contributing factors include: 

  • Natural aging – Also called “wear-and-tear” arthritis because the risk of osteoarthritis increases with age.
  • Obesity – Extra body weight contributes to osteoarthritis in more ways than one, and the more you weigh, the greater your risk. Increased weight puts extra stress on the joints that support the weight, such as your hips and knees. In addition, fatty tissue produces proteins that can cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints.
  • Joint injuries – Injuries, such as those sustained during sports or in an accident, can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that occurred many years ago and appear to have healed can increase your risk for osteoarthritis.
  • Repeated stress on the joint – If your job or a sport you play places repetitive stress on a joint, that joint might eventually develop osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics – Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Sex – It is not clear exactly why but women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Bone deformities – Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage.
  • Certain metabolic diseases – These include diabetes and hemochromatosis (a condition in which your body has too much iron). 

Treatment for osteoarthritis 

There is no cure for osteoarthritis but mild to moderate symptoms are usually well managed with a combination of medications and therapeutic treatments. Treatment includes: 

  • Medications – Including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, vitamins and minerals.
  • Exercise – Moderate physical activity helps keep muscles strong and release tension. Exercising in water is easier on joints.
  • Weight-loss (if overweight) – Less weight means less strain on the joints.
  • Healthy diet – Helps the control of diabetes and cholesterol. Both of which can negatively affect your joints.
  • Physiotherapy – Physiotherapy is an important component of OA treatment. It helps relieve pain and inflammation, teach proper joint management, and correctly perform range of motion and flexibility exercises as well as cardiovascular exercises.
  • Supportive devices – such as braces, shoe inserts, cane or walker.
  • Surgery – When other medical treatments are ineffective or have been exhausted, especially in advanced OA, it may be helpful to relieve pain and restore function.

 

 

Locum GP (General Practitioner) - (Bryanston, Roodepoort, Kempton Park, Rustenburg, Gqeberha, Bloemfontein, Polokwane)
  • 2-3 years post community service experience (Essential).
  • Comprehensive understanding and strong interest in Back and Neck related conditions.
  • Chronic disease & pain management.
  • Current medical license registration with HPCSA (Essential).
  • Up to date with medical developments, treatment, and medication.
  • Effectively collaborate within a multidisciplinary team.
  • Strong leader, quick learner, team player, charismatic, empathetic, and energetic.
  • Excellent communication and people skills.
  • Driver’s license and reliable vehicle preferred.
Locum GP (General Practitioner) - (Bryanston, Roodepoort, Kempton Park, Rustenburg, Gqeberha, Bloemfontein, Polokwane)
  • 2-3 years post community service experience (Essential).
  • Comprehensive understanding and strong interest in Back and Neck related conditions.
  • Chronic disease & pain management.
  • Current medical license registration with HPCSA (Essential).
  • Up to date with medical developments, treatment, and medication.
  • Effectively collaborate within a multidisciplinary team.
  • Strong leader, quick learner, team player, charismatic, empathetic, and energetic.
  • Excellent communication and people skills.
  • Driver’s license and reliable vehicle preferred.

For more info on treatment, request a call by filling out the contact form below. We will respond to you shortly.

Some of the Medical Aids that cover treatment.

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