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Osteoarthritis

osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It is a chronic degenerative disease of joints with acute inflammation. It causes joint pain and stiffness. It usually develops when changes in the cartilage occur that affect how joints work. In osteoarthritis the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together. The rubbing causes pain, swelling and loss of motion of the joint.

Osteoarthritis may also affect the hip, neck, small finger joints, knees and lower back after inactivity/overuse.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis are as below:

  1. Pain
  2. Inflammation
  3. Stiffness
  4. Muscle spasm
  5. Loss of joint movement
  6. Tenderness in the affected joint
  7. Muscle weakness/wasting
  8. Joint enlargement
  9. Deformity
  10. Difficulty to walk, climb stairs, sleep and squat
  11. The base of the thumb, ankle and big toe, the pain may be moderate and may come and go without affecting the ability to perform the daily tasks

Causes:

There is no known cause of Osteoarthritis, but it is common among women. Factors that might cause it include the following:

  1. Old age
  2. Stress on the joints from certain jobs and by playing sports
  3. Joint injury
  4. Diabetes
  5. Congenital disorders
  6. Septic arthritis (Infection of the joint)
  7. Obesity

It can be diagnosed by physical examination. The other investigations include blood tests, X Ray and MRI scan.

Physiotherapy Treatment:

  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Short Wave Diathermy (SWD)
  • Paraffin wax
  • Strengthening exercises

Aims of Physiotherapy:

  • Relief pain
  • Strengthening the muscles
  • Mobilize joints
  • Maintain joint range and muscle power
  • Improve co-ordination
  • Minimize deformity
  • Improve functional independence
  • Reduce postural stress
  • To prevent further strain/damage to affected joint

Supporters:

  • Neck braces
  • Knee braces
  • Splints
  • Walker
  • MCR footwear

Self Care: Staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight are the key to living well with Osteoarthritis.

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