Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe various specific conditions that cause inflammation of one or multiple joints of the body. Two of the most common types include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Our body is full of different types of joints to enable us to move. These joints operate differently to allow us to lift objects, walk, manipulate objects and move. When these joints are affected by some type of pathology such as arthritis, it makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
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Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when the cartilage that lines and cushions the joints, wears or breaks down causing pain, stiffness and swelling. Osteoarthritis is more prevalent as we age however genetics, trauma or increased weight may influence the incidence of this condition. This condition can affect any joint, however commonly affected joints include hips, knees, fingers and feet. Symptoms usually include pain after prolonged rest or static positions, pain and swelling during or after excessive activity and in more severe cases, a loss of range of motion of the joint. Increased pain, swelling, and heat is common, especially at night time.
There are two main avenues of treatment of osteoarthritis; conservative management with physiotherapy or surgical treatment with intensive physiotherapy post operatively. Current scientific research suggests that physiotherapy is equally as effective as surgery in most cases, resulting in similar levels of function without the risks associated with surgery. It is always recommended to trial physiotherapy prior to considering surgery as physiotherapy has been shown to delay the need for surgery or prevent the need for surgery all together. Additionally, if surgery is indicated; physiotherapy pre-operatively has been shown to either prevent the need for surgery, prolong the time until surgery is required or improve outcomes post operatively.
Treatment at Total Physiocare can be invaluable in maintaining everyday life and tasks or returning you back to things that you want to. Physiotherapists take a thorough history of your condition and track the conditions progress with outcome measures to ensure the most effective treatment to help you achieve your goals.
Rehabilitation with us will be based upon your individual presentation, needs and goals, however treatment often include a combination of exercise, stretching, hands on therapy and information about how to manage daily activities and manage the symptoms of the condition.
At Total Physiocare as well as individualised physiotherapy, we offer the GLA:D program which is an internationally recognized physiotherapy education and exercise program for hip or knee osteoarthritis. This was originally formed in Denmark and has been found to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms by 32% and able to improve physical activity after 12 months. This is completed in a small group based setting conducted by a physiotherapist with people who have similar symptoms. This program initially collects data to determine baseline function to track progress, two education sessions where you learn about how to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis long term and six exercise training sessions. This is one of the highest researched and effective treatment strategies for management of osteoarthritis. To read more about osteoarthritis, its treatment and the GLAD program, feel free to explore our blog posts below.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks its own joints. This creates inflammation that causes the linings of the joints to thicken and may result in joint deformity and painful joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can present at any age, however, commonly begins to present in people aged 40-50 years old and present more frequently in females. Commonly this condition affects the hands, fingers or feet on both sides of the body equally, however, this condition also may also affect numerous body systems and organs. Other broader symptoms include fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.
If you have unexplained persistent discomfort or swelling in your joints, it is recommended that you contact your GP for a blood test to help diagnose or rule this condition out. First line treatment involves medicine that helps slow the progression of symptoms of the disease. Physiotherapy input can help maintain or improve the function of these joints to enable you to continue completing your daily tasks.
Treatment at Total Physiocare can be invaluable to maintaining or returning to activities that are affected by your diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis. We take a thorough history of your condition and obtain your goals to tailor treatment to what you want to be able to do. This treatment includes working with health professionals such as your GP, an occupational therapist or a specialist to improve the coercive nature of treatment and ensure that we are working towards your goals. Rehabilitation with us will be based on your individual presentation, needs and goals, with treatments often including a combination or hands on therapy, taping, strengthening and education on how to manage the condition.
For more information on the GLAD program, total hip replacements, total knee joint replacements or hip and knee pain, please see the related blogs below.