What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder in the world and the most common cause of disability in the UK. It is characterised by joint pain, stiffness, deformity and loss of function. As the severity of pain increases its impact on daily life can increase as well.
OA is complex disorder which is primarily associated with damage to cartilage and bone growth at joint margins known as osteophytes. However its pathology is also thought to include, abnormal scar formation, ligament laxity and synovial inflammation.
Who is a risk of Osteoarthritis?
The complex nature of OA means that there are many risk factors associated with the disease. Some of the key risk factors are listed below.
|Age:||This is the most closely associated factor with OA. OA is the second most common cause of disability in those ages over 50 years.|
|Genetic Predisposition:||It is thought that there is a genetic component to OA development. This means that in some cases there may be a hereditary predisposition to the condition.|
|Gender:||OA is more common in women than men over the age of 55 years. It is thought that this id due to changes in hormonal levels in women at this age.|
|Obesity:||There has been shown to be an increase in the presence of OA with an increased body mass index (BMI).|
|Mechanical Factors:||The repetitive use under mechanical stress can increase the risk of OA. This is one of the most modifiable risk factors.|
What can physiotherapy do to treat osteoarthritis?
Physiotherapy treatment for OA is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE are an organisation which give advice to the NHS for the best possible treatment options available. Below are some physiotherapy treatments which have we use in the treatment of osteoarthritis:
- Exercise Programmes
- Stretching programmes
- Patient education
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