Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting over 900,000 people in Ireland today. It is a condition that affects the joints, with the protective cartilage at the end of bones wearing away over time. It gradually worsens, and can cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness, a ‘grinding’ feeling, and reduced range of movement.
Unfortunately there is no cure for osteoarthritis but if it is detected early, progression may be slowed and symptoms can be treated. Often medication can be prescribed by your doctor for pain relief and to reduce swelling, and surgery may be indicated if severe enough as with a Total Knee Replacement or Total Hip Replacement.
Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of osteoarthritis and can help to improve mobility, strength and flexibility. There is strong evidence that improving the strength of the surrounding muscles of the arthritic joint will help reduce pain and improve function of the joint. Exercise is key to preventing osteoarthritis symptoms worsening so the sooner you start the better! Remember prevention is always better than cure so the sooner you get started on a prescribed exercise program the less likely you are to suffer from disability related to osteoarthritis.
If you have already been told you will need a hip or knee replacement, Physiotherapy becomes very important to your recovery. Often it is said that your Physiotherapy program before and after the surgery is as important as the surgery itself to get a good outcome! Following a prescribed exercise program pre and post knee/hip replacement will improve your recovery and your outcome.