Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints.
OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in the knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe.
In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint.
Strengthening exercises build muscles around OA-affected joints, easing the burden on those joints and reducing pain. Range-of-motion exercise helps maintain and improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness.
Physiotherapy can help relieve your pain by showing you specific exercises designed to correct muscular imbalances.
Here are just a few exercise guidelines to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle!
- Concentrate on quality rather than quantity with your exercises.
- Move your joints smoothly and slowly. Always maintain good posture.
- Be aware of pain and swelling.
- If pain lasts more than 2 hours, you have overdone it! Ease off during the next session.
- Do not continue with an exercise that causes pain.
- If you have had surgery, or if your joint pain or swelling is not responding to rest, seek professional advice from your surgeon or physiotherapist.