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Arthritis – Beat the chill this winter

What is Osteoarthritis ?

Osteoarthritis can be a crippling condition and is most commonly seen in the hip and knee joints. This is due to the joints being weight bearing joints, so a lot of strain and force is placed upon them on a daily basis. The coating of the bone ends are covered with cartilage, when this cartilage gets worn away this is when symptoms arise, due to two ends of bone rubbing against each other. Degeneration of the joint is the most common cause for Osteoarthritis but it can also be a result of a traumatic event to the joint or even secondary to gout.

What are the symptoms associated with Osteoarthritis ?

Patients present with:

         ⁃ Localised pain to the joint

         ⁃ Stiffness in and around the affected joint

         ⁃ Joint tenderness

         ⁃ Morning stiffness/ night pain

         ⁃ Decreased range of movement

Activities that are limiting:

         ⁃ Walking/ running

         ⁃ Walking up and down stairs/ hills

         ⁃ Getting in and out of the car

         ⁃ Putting shoes and socks on

Who is likely to suffer?

Both men and women can develop Osteoarthritis and most commonly seen between the ages of 50-60. Unfortunately women over 60 are more likely to experience symptoms compared to men.

Younger people can be seen to suffer also but slightly different in that the term is traumatic arthritis. This can be caused through a traumatic injury occurring and or multiple surgical interventions to one area.

Other reasons for the development of Osteoarthritis is if the surrounding muscles are weak and not strong enough then the load will be solely transferred though the bones and not spread equally through the muscles.

Treatments to help symptoms

Massage is the main conservative treatment that will provide the most relief for patients suffering with Osteoarthritis. The benefits of massage include:

         ⁃ Relaxing muscular tightness around the joint, releasing pressure on the joint itself.

         ⁃ Decrease swelling to the area.

         ⁃ Promote new blood flow and heat up the area to lower symptoms of pain and discomfort.

Joint mobilisation alongside massage is recommended to increase range further to aid with daily activities.

Exercise prescription to help with muscle strength and range as well as low impact aerobic exercise both on land and in the water is a really good way to get the joints moving in a controlled pain free environment.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that have been mentioned in this blog, then be sure to contact either ourselves or your local health professional to get a full assessment and treatment that is specific to you. Here at SB Sports Massage & Rehabilitation we can offer you advice and range of treatments using all the key areas highlighted above and give you advice on how to prevent this issue from arising again.