Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects over 8 million people in the UK. It is a condition that becomes more common as you age and is often known as a wear and tear condition.
But what does this actually mean and how can we help you with your osteoarthritic pain?
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by damage to the cartilage of a joint. It can occur in any weight bearing joint and it often occurs through incorrect loading of a joint, over many years.
The problem may begin, far away from the affected join. If you have flat feet, for example, this can create problems in the knee or hip.
The arch of the foot is there to absorb forces and ensure correct mechanics all the way up the lower body.
If your foot drops inwards, this causes your knee to also drop inwards, creating additional forces, usually on the inside of your knee. Over time, these forces damage the cartilage of the knee which in the end breaks down.
The job of the cartilage is to stop the bones rubbing together, so if this breaks down, the bones can rub, creating damage, pain and the beginnings of Osteoarthtitis.
How can you treat Osteoarthritis?
The key to a healthy knee or hip, is alignment. So we need to strengthen the leg to stop the forces running through the wrong part of the knee or hip.
With knee osteoarthritis, we often start with the foot. If the foot is weak and lacking an arch, this is the place to start. Strengthening the foot is usually enough to get rid of the pain, but if this doesn’t work, we will strengthen and rebalance the whole leg.
It is important to combine loosening with strengthening; so we will always use our hands on techniques to loosen your leg. When someone has an osteoarthritic knee, they will often “brace” with their hamstrings, because they don’t want to straighten their knee, due to pain. So we will loosen these muscles to help rebalance the leg.
For hip osteoarthritis, we need to create stability in the joint, so that the hip can support itself in the correct position. Again the foot and the knee have a role to play in this, so we would look at the whole lower body, in order to solve your osteoarthritic pain.
Once the cartilage has worn away to such a level that the bone is effectively resting on bone, strength options become more limited.
This is usually because the exercises are too painful to perform and therefore clients often don’t do them. Until now, the only option at this point has been a knee or hip replacement. However, recently NICE have approved an alternative treatment for people with severe osteoarthritis and we are the first clinic in Warwickshire to have trained up in their use.
If you choose to opt for Surgery, the outcomes of this depend partially on your surgeon and partially on your rehabilitation. Usually, clients have no problem from a surgical perspective, but have limited access to rehabilitation. At The Reinge Clinic, we offer a comprehensive approach to knee and hip surgery rehabilitation, providing appropriate hands on work, to relieve the post surgical stiffness and well as helping to get the initial movement back in the knee or hip.
We are then able to work on targeted strengthening, building you from the initial basic bending and straightening moves, to fully loading and more dynamic strength work. We can even get you back to hiking, running and sports with your new knee.
Frequently Asked Questions about Osteoarthritis
We have many clients who have moderate or even severe Osteoarthritis who are able to manage their condition with regular rehabilitation, strength and loosening work.
If exercise isn’t for you the Apos training shoe may be an alternative worth thinking about.
The treatment for Osteoarthritis always involves strength work, even of you opt for a surgical procedure.
For clients with mild Osteoarthritis, surgery is rarely needed. Strength and hands on techniques usually solve the pain and help to limit future damage within the knee.
Take a look at the NHS page for Osteoarthritis here.
The main signs are generally pain, swelling, stiffness. A grinding or crunching noise when bending the knee or hip.
Pain is usually there when weight bearing as this is when the bones sit closest together. It often eases when non load bearing.
In the case of Knee Osteoperosis, the legs tend to bow out, giving a distinctive walking gait.
However a full assessment and usually an MRI scan is needed to diagnose Osteoarthritis.
Both disciplines can treat Osteoparthritis. Sports Therapists are more likely to use hands on techniques in their treatments, but from an assessment and rehabilitation perspective there is little between the two professions.
For initial post surgical rehab a Physiotherapist is the best solution as they have experiance working in hospitals with immediate port operative procedures. But after around 12 weeks a Sports therapist is able to treat to the same level.
At The Reinge clinic our Physiotherapist is also a trained Sports Therapist. Both our Physiotherapist and our Sports Therapist are APOS Therapy trained, meaning they have additional training and knowledge in Osteoarthritis.
If you have no, or low pain with your arthritis, it is best to stay as active as possible. If you have pain, you need to avoid the activities that exacerbate the pain.
Running, for example, can exacerbate Osteoarthritic pain in the knee or hip. However, sometimes by altering the running gait, or with rehabilitation work, we can ensure you can continue with the sport or activity that you love.
Generally load bearing activities with heavy weights exacerbate pain, whereas swimming, for example, can be a great way to exercise without creating pain the the joints.
We will always advise on the best and safest way to keep you active, while trying to resolve your pain.
Learn more about Osteoarthritis
What Our Clients Say About Us?
October 19, 2022
Totally looked after by Ian - really reassured that he can help and support me in my goals Thank you
November 4, 2022
My first appointment with Ian and very impressed, I may finally get somewhere with my dodgy hip
November 21, 2022
Really nice experience ( apart from elbow in hip…ouch)
December 8, 2022
EXCELLENT , HELPED ME UNDERSTAND ALL MY ISSUES AND HOW TO START TO RE AJUST
September 5, 2023
Gina is a brilliant therapist! Very friendly, supportive and provides a holistic approach to MSK problems.