Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects more than two million Australians. Often referred to as ‘wear and tear,’ the degenerative joint disease is now thought to be the result of a joint over working to try repair itself.
Peninsula Health physiotherapist David Weeks is helping osteoarthritis patients understand the disease in an effort to help improve their quality of life.
Working within the Osteoarthritis Hip and Knee Service, David has become familiar with a number of patient misconceptions about the disease, its causes, and its treatment.
“A common misbelief is that movement and exercise will make osteoarthritis worse,” David said. “But both are safe and beneficial for osteoarthritis patients and can have a positive effect on pain and disability.”
“Motion allows joint fluid to lubricate and provide nutrition to the joint, and building strength helps improve support around the joint. Whereas a lack of movement tends to lead to more joint stiffness and weaker muscles.”
Physiotherapists deliver direct patient-care through education, personalised management strategies and appropriate referrals to help improve the quality of life for those living with a degenerative joint disease.
Currently, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, however, David suggests that by modifying particular behaviours,the disease can become manageable.
“The risk of developing osteoarthritis can be modified by maintaining body weight within a healthy range,” David said. “Reducing weight may improve symptoms in individuals who have symptomatic osteoarthritis.”
Physiotherapists also work with patients who may have pre-existing joint injuries to implement prevention programs to help strengthen and loosen joints, alleviating osteoarthritis concerns and pain.
This World Physiotherapy Day, let’s thank our physiotherapists for the work they do in assessing, diagnosing, treating and working to prevent disease and disability through movement and exercise.