Arthritic pain is a very common presentation that we see here in the clinic. More specifically, arthritis of the hip and knee. This is unsurprising with one in 11 Australians experiencing arthritis, and 64% of Australians with arthritis having moderate to substantial work-related disability. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and can be defined as degeneration of the joint cartilage, the cushioning surface present on the ends of our bones.
Clients with osteoarthritis can have difficulties with tasks such as:
- Putting on shoes and socks
- Standing up from a chair
- Standing and walking for long periods of time
- Leisure activities and sports
These degenerative changes can lead to joint pain, swelling and stiffness that impact on simple daily tasks. However, mild to moderate symptoms can be easily managed with:
- Regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
- Balancing activity with rest
- Using hot and cold packs
Gentle exercise therapy has been shown to produce the best pain and functional outcomes for osteoarthritis. All of our physios at Thrive Physio Plus have been educated in the GLAD ‘Good Life with Arthritis: Denmark’ exercise program which places emphasis on strengthening and correcting daily movement patterns. Research on the GLAD program shows symptom progression reduces by 23%, with patients experiencing a 25% reduction in reported pain levels on average and increased levels of physical activity 12 months after starting the program. Additionally, 74% of individuals who participated in the GLAD program were able to avoid total knee replacement.
At Thrive Physio Plus, we can provide you with individually tailored client self-care strategies, including relevant goals for pain management and exercise training in our fully functional on-site gym. To achieve optimal results, tailored exercise therapy following the GLAD program should be performed 2-3 times per week. We often find that secondary effects of arthritis include functional deficits in the knee and hip, altered balance and associated weakness of surrounding musculature-so these also become incorporated into our program once effective pain management has taken place.
So the take home message here is: there’s no need to avoid gentle exercise when experiencing arthritis. In fact, exercise can be fantastic for keeping us strong and mobile, minimising the effects of this condition. If you or a family member are struggling to find relief from arthritis, want to get back to their physical best and doing all that you love, call the clinic on 8490 0777 or book online here.
– Written by Matt Slade, Knee Physio