Could exercise therapy be key in helping osteoarthritis of the Knee and Hip
Wear and tear, osteoarthritic changes, are characterised by disruption and thinning of the cartilage and subsequent bony change. Patients will classically experience pain, stiffness and joint swelling, more often after activity, first thing in the morning and after rest.
Both the hip and knee are commonly affected by osteoarthritis, especially after the age of 50. A lot of sufferers find that as the pain, stiffness and swelling increases, their ability to work and enjoy leisure activities reduces and their dependency on medications can become stronger.
In management of the condition, there are 3 main options, pharmacological; non-pharmacological (such as hands on manual therapies) and surgery. In all groups maintaining physical activity and exercise is recommended, no matter what stage the condition is at and pain level experienced. Exercise and activity should be tailored appropriately to accommodate a patients needs and ability.
According to research, the key factors to note are;
- Strong evidence suggests that exercise in general can help manage the pain of hip and knee osteoarthritis.
- Benefits of exercise on pain continue after the intervention. Some patients report benefits 3-18 months after they stop.
- Appropriate exercise can be given irrespective of age, pain, comorbidity and disability.
- Exercising in a group or on your own is equally as effective
- There is no evidence to suggest that any type of exercise is superior to any other (aerobic, strengthening etc).
- There is some evidence to suggest that improving strength in the leg muscles will reduce pain in the knee in sufferers with osteoarthritis.
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