Physiotherapy for Lower limb Osteoarthritis – bone and joint inflammation
Osteoarthritis or OA is the most common type of arthritis in elderly people with 1 in 2 people over the age of 65 having one or more joints with the disease. Osteoarthritis is a joint disease mainly affecting cartilage in in the joints. (For more information please visit our Osteoarthritis page)
Implications of osteoarthritis when shown on an x-ray reveal a narrowing between joint spaces where cartilage should be keeping joints apart. When cartilage wears down, the shape becomes uneven, there is less lubrication and in some cases bony spurs may occur over time and then break off in the join causing more pain or even locking.
While Scientists don’t really know what triggers osteoarthritis, but ageing (which is uncontrollable), weight, joint injuries, stress due to repetitive job or high impact thru joints and genetic make-up all combine to contribute to osteoarthritis.
Where might you find lower limb osteoarthritis ?
Knees: One of the bodies primary weight bearing joints – hence most commonly affected by osteoarthritis . The progression of knee wear and tear may be due to weakness in the pelvis or poor control of the weight through the feet. This presentation can progress to a very disabling pain making it hard to walk, stand from sitting or climb stairs.
Hips: Can also be a severe disability. Osteoarthritis in the hips usually causes pain in the groin but can also be manifested in the hip, inner thighs, knees or buttocks.
Your joints health relies on the maintenance of good range of motion and strength around your joint. Without these things it is likely that you will have degeneration at a rate faster than necessary. Your physiotherapist can diagnose which muscles need strengthening and assist you with improving joint range of movement to ensure your risk factors for Osteoarthritis reduced.
Treatment of lower limb osteoarthritis
The best way to treat Osteoarthritis by getting your joints, such as your knee and hip joints, as healthy as they can be. This means stretching them and moving them to their best range of motion and strengthening the muscles around the joint to help protect it from every day forces of gravity and movement. A healthy diet, regularly exercise, fish oil supplements, braces and re-training of gait can all be additions to making your joints pain free. Osteoarthritis joints need to maintained like you maintain your garden, if you stop – it gets out of hand. Your physio should start you off in the right direction and then empower you with the knowledge and motivation to keep up the good work!