What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects more Canadians than any of the other forms of arthritis combined. OA is a degenerative progressive condition that can affect the bones, cartilage and joints in the body. When your health professional tells you there is a “bit of wear and tear”, they are talking about osteoarthritis.

The more susceptible areas of the body are the knees, hips, toes, hands and spine. This is most likely because these joints are areas that bear heavy workloads over a long period of time. Being obese or overweight, not exercising regularly, occupation, age or having a previous injury are also risk factors.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Individual symptoms can differ but generally the following complaints are prevalent:

  • Joint pain
  • Aching
  • Morning stiffness lasting less than 30 minutes
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Swelling

The person may experience flare ups of pain and stiffness over time and generally this intensity will increase as the condition is progressive.

What Can Physiotherapy Do For OA?

A physiotherapist can create an individualized program to help you increase your strength, range of motion, flexibility, mobility and general well being. Education on the condition is also a valuable tool to help you self manage and improve your quality of life. The physiotherapist can also recommend orthotics, braces or splints.

Additionally, the modalities below are useful in helping you with your symptoms:

  • Dry needling/ Intramuscular Stimulation
  • Deep tissue massage
  • K-Taping
  • Ultrasound
  • Interferential current
  • Heat, Ice Packs, TENS

Please note these treatments can be applied to any arthritic condition e.g. rheumatoid or psoriatic.