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Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, often known as a ‘wear and tear’ condition, with the ability to affect any joint but most commonly the fingers, hands, knees and hips. OA causes the cartilage in a joint to breakdown, changing bone shape and causing inflammation, pain, stiffness and reduced mobility. Other symptoms may include aching, a clicking or popping sound when a joint moves, and muscle weakness.
Australian studies have shown that women are more likely to develop OA, with 1 in 10 women reporting having the condition, compared to 1 in 16 men. It can develop at any age, however is more common in those aged 40 years or older or those who have suffered a previous joint injury.
Overuse of a joint is one of the various risk factors of OA. This may be through repetitive movements in a sport or job, for example, and can result in the development of OA. Obesity is another risk factor for OA, as excessive weight places stress and pressure upon the joints, and promotes inflammation. Genetics can also contribute to the development of OA; those with family members who have OA are more likely to develop it.
If you do experience joint pain, it is important to seek help from a health professional to determine a diagnosis and develop a plan for management of the condition if needed. A good physiotherapist can create a program that focuses on building muscle strength to assist with taking the load off joints, through specific exercises to help stabilise the joints and ease the pain. Regular exercise is also an effective treatment for managing osteoarthritis as it helps ensure the joints are healthy and flexible. Other management strategies to help treat the symptoms of OA may include a combination of the following; weight loss, healthy eating, yoga, medications, assistive devices (such as a brace or cane), and protecting joints where possible.
Altaira’s Lead Physiotherapist, Michael, holds both a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and a Bachelor of Medical Science degrees, and has an extensive background in Occupational Health. He is an Australian Physiotherapy Association member and believes in the provision of evidence based practice and holistic client-centred care. He is extremely passionate about assisting clients to maintain their independence and empowering them to self-manage their musculoskeletal health in a way that is relevant and meaningful for them. Book in a consult with Michael via: Make a Booking (nookal.com) Learn more about Altaira’s Allied Health services: Allied Health – Altaira Services