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Osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?Osteoarthritis diagram 2

Osteoarthritis (or osteoarthrosis) is a condition where the joint stops moving smoothly due to a roughening of the cartilage which covers the end of the bone.

Common symptoms include:

  • stiffness in the joint, especially first thing in the morning
  • painOsteoarthritis diagram
  • reduced movement
  • clicking or grinding
Common myths:
  • ‘I have arthritis, nothing can be done to help’ – although there is degeneration of the joint which cannot be changed without an operation, plenty can be done to reduce the pain and symptoms of arthritis such as exercise, reducing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • ‘Exercise causes damage’- building strength can help support the joint as well as release endorphins which can help with pain relief.

  • ‘Diet doesn’t affect joints’- Being overweight will put more stress on the joints, therefore, losing weight will not only help strengthen the joint but will also reduce the load on the joint itself.

  • ‘Clicking/cracking joints causes more damage’- there is no evidence to suggest that this will cause, or add damage to the joint. Some people naturally have joints that click. Clicking (or crepitus) can be a result or air escaping from the joint, fluid movement or other structures moving, for example, tendons.

Exercise:

All exercise is beneficial but doing things like cycling, Tai Chi, walking, exercise in the water/swimming or using a cross trainer can be very beneficial. If these aren’t for you, general strengthening exercises and cardiovascular exercise will also help. Seeing a physiotherapist can help guide you through exercises and assist your return to the things you enjoy doing.