The older you get, the more you hear about osteoarthritis. This problem affects virtually everyone in their lifetime. It makes your life more difficult when you go up or down stairs, when you walk or do other activities. How does it feel like? What should be done? What are the causes? We will try to answer these questions.
There are many causes to osteoarthritis. Among the most commons we find: obesity, an old or recent injury, repetitive stress on a joint, a postural disorder, heredity or old age.
Where do we usually find osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis mainly affects the hips, knees, spine, hands and feet and the acromioclavicular joint in the shoulder.
How do we know it’s osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis usually occurs around the age of 50 but it may appear later or earlier. Normally, it affects only one side, but both sides may be affected depending on the joint. There will be no pain when you are at rest, unless you are in an acute inflammatory phase. In the chronic phase, the pain will appear when you are on the move. You may feel crackling when you move the affected joint, that is, a feeling of sand in the joint. The pain will diminish with rest. It may take a few minutes until an hour after the activity for the pain to settle down. Normally, it can take up to five years to present all of these symptoms, as osteoarthritis develops gradually.
Consequences on the body
- Postural alterations
- Loss of function (i.e. walking, climbing up and down stairs, etc.)
- Decrease in muscle mass
To be able to diagnose osteoarthritis, your doctor will take you through several medical tests. It is very likely that X-rays will be performed to observe the condition of the joints. If the osteoarthritis is too important, that your pain is intolerable, and that you have trouble working, you will probably be referred to an orthopedic physician. He or she will discuss with you the possibility of performing joint replacement surgery.
What are my options?
Physiotherapy treatments are a great way to help decrease the effects of osteoarthritis. Physiotherapists will work with you to reduce pain and allow you to be as active as possible. They will help you with several treatment modalities, either by decreasing the inflammation, increasing the amplitude of movement, reinforcing and / or stabilizing the joint, using exercises to keep you functional and demonstrating l Importance of good posture. If walking has become too difficult, you may be prescribed technical assistance such as a walking stick or a walker to facilitate your travel.
Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that osteoarthritis can not be cured. The role of physiotherapy professionals is to avoid the onset of new symptoms or delay the aggravation of the present symptoms.
Finally, osteoarthritis is a problem that should not be taken lightly. It is possible to restrict the deterioration of your condition with the help of professionals like physiotherapists. Unfortunately, this is not cured, but there are techniques to relieve yourself and try to keep you as functional as possible.
Sabrina Paquet TRP