Is pain waking you at night? Are you unable to walk up or down stairs without pain? Have you stopped your lifestyle activities and now put on weight? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are not alone. Osteoarthritis (OA) affects many Australian and is a significant public health problem. It is estimated that by 2032 it will affect 3 million Australians.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain and disability in the knee joint. In the knee joint the end of the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) are covered in smooth articular cartilage. Between the two bones sits a second type of cartilage, called menisci, which act as cartilage shock absorber pads. Joint fluid also adds lubrication to the knee joint. Osteoarthritis starts as the lack or loss of this articulate (surface) cartilage and then progresses into involvement with the surrounding bone, tissues, and joint fluid. In OA, cartilage may have areas of partial thinning or complete loss of surface cartilage resulting in areas of exposed bone (bone on bone). Often there will be associated joint stiffening and muscle weakness of the quadriceps, hamstrings and hip abductor muscles.
What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Symptoms of OA vary from person to person. These are the most common complaints from people with OA:
- Joint pain
- Stiffness after rest
- Morning stiffness lasting more than 30 minutes
- Occasional swelling, local inflammation, hot/warm joint
- Crepitus (“crunch’ sounding joint)
- Loss of muscle strength
- Loss of range of movement
- Increasing difficulaty with physical function
What are the non-surgical treatment options?
It’s important to understand that you cannot reverse OA once it is present in a joint. What you can do however, is decrease the symptoms that you feel from OA and possibly slow down its progression. Treatment of OA differs depending on the severity of the disease. All stages of OA can be treated effectively with conservative management such as physiotherapy, however early intervention is preferable. Specialised quadriceps strengthening exercises as well as joint mobilisation, and muscle stretching can improve the condition.
At Revesby Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre we have developed a comprehensive knee Osteoarthritis management program which has been designed around the latest research and in consultation with orthopaedic surgeons. This program has been designed to reduce your pain, improve your quality of life and prevent or delay the need for knee replacement surgery.
Have you been told by your GP there is nothing you can do about your osteoarthritis? Are you noticing increasing knee pain which is restricting your lifestyle? Contact Revesby Physiotherapy to find out about their program, the latest non-surgical treatment options available and how you can start living a pain free life today.
Revesby Physiotherapy has been established for more than 25 years and provides the local area with a high level of expertise in the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. Health Mates members receive a discount on treatment. Call them today on 9772 2586 and organise your FREE initial assessment.