- Is also known as OA or degenerative arthritis and is a group of diseases involving degradation of joints, articular cartilage and bone
- Cartilage is a tissue which lubricates and cushions joints
- OA can have a number of predisposing factors, including: hereditary, mechanical, metabolic and developmental
- OA often results in pain which decreases movement and function, leading to wasting of muscles and weakening of structures.
- OA affects around 3 million people in Australia, representing about 15% of the population
- OA commonly affects hands, feet, the spine and the large weight bearing joints such as hips and knees.
- Muscle weakness around an osteoarthritic joint is a common finding
- Diabetes, obesity, injury and inflammatory diseases such as gout can promote the development of OA in joints
- OA is the leading cause of pain and disability in the elderly
- 90% of total hip replacements and 95% of total knee replacements are performed for OA in Australia
What you can expect/look out for
- Acute pain
- Decrease in function of affected joints
- Stiffness and swelling
- Crepitus or creaking of joints
Hints for self-management
- Activity modification to reduce irritation of affected joints
- A graduated exercise program to increase strength of the surrounding muscles
- Weight management with diet and exercise
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Research has shown that exercise is one of the most important treatments for OA of the hip and knee.
- Low impact exercises (where there is less impact going through your hips and knees) include water exercise, cycling, walking and strengthening exercises
- Strengthening exercises can be prescribed by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist
- Braces/supportive devices for affected areas eg knee brace
- Arthroscopy and in the most severe cases joint replacement surgery
- Among the 100 different types of arthritis, OA is the most common
- OA is more common as we age
- Most cases of OA have no known cause and are referred to as primary OA. When the cause is known, the condition is referred to as secondary OA
- Repetitive use of worn joints over time can lead to loss of cartilage
- Inflammation of cartilage can stimulate new bone growth (spurs and osteophytes) which form around the joint (see below)
At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries.
Contact us today – 9252 5770
This handout was prepared by Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is intended as a general information service. Please note that the information provided is not intended as a substitute for advice from a registered physician or healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.