Overview

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease of the articular cartilage in the load-bearing joints of the body. Healthy articular cartilage acts as a joint-lubricator, providing a surface for low friction articulation and smooth movement. Following cartilage break down, this increases the friction within the joint. This minimises its ability to appropriately transmit weight through the bones of the joint. This leads to chronic pain and disability.

Currently, approximately 2.1 million Australians are living with osteoarthritis, an ever-increasing number as the population ages. It is a major cause of chronic disability and pain and an understanding of its causes is fundamental in the prevention.

Impact of Obesity

OBESITY is the clearest risk factor involved in the development of osteoarthritis. This is due to the increased load-bearing through the joints. For every 1kg of bodyweight, 4kg of force is loaded through the knees. Furthermore, increased adipose (fat) tissue releases pro-inflammatory hormones which pose a destructive effect to articular cartilage. Additionally, high systolic blood pressure and increased high-density lipo-proteins (cholesterol) are commonly associated with the occurrence and progression of osteoarthritis.

Thus, this highlights the significant need for LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION as a first-line of treatment for osteoarthritis.

Importance of Weight Loss

Weight loss results in reduced stress and force through the joints. This reduces the friction involved, relieving pain and aggravating symptoms. Furthermore, weight loss can be used as an excellent preventative tool for reducing the progression of the severity of osteoarthritis. A reduction of 5.1kg has been shown to decrease the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by 50% in women with a body mass index of >25kg/m2.

It is vital to utilise diet alterations or increased physical activity in order to treat the cause of the issue. Delaying potential surgery or joint replacements is integral. The lifespan of these procedures is 10-15 years, thus multiple revision surgeries may be needed in the future, requiring excess financial burden and further rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy aims to provide you with a comprehensive plan to modify your lifestyle in order to avoid surgery all together. If you are experiencing joint pain; physiotherapy is an essential step in your road to a faster, holistic recovery.

Summary

  • There is a significant need for LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION as a first-line of treatment for osteoarthritis
  • Diet alterations or increased physical activity it is vital to utilise these methods in order to treat the cause of the issue
  • PHYSIOTHERAPY aims to provide you with a comprehensive plan to modify your lifestyle

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