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What is it?

Osteoarthritis, commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is the most common form of arthritis, and it typically develops in older adults, although it can occur at any age. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the joints wear down over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

As an expert physical therapy, I have seen many patients with osteoarthritis and helped them manage their symptoms through various treatments and exercises. Here are some of the key things you need to know about this condition:

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can develop for several reasons, including:

  • Aging: As we age, the cartilage in our joints become less resilient and more susceptible to wear and tear.

  • Genetics: Some people may be more genetically predisposed to developing osteoarthritis.

  • Joint injury: Previous injuries or surgeries to the joints can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

  • Obesity: Carrying excess weight can put more stress on the joints, leading to cartilage damage.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but common signs include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the affected joint, especially after periods of inactivity or overuse

  • Swelling and tenderness around the joint

  • A crunching or grinding sensation when moving the joint

  • Limited range of motion and difficulty with everyday tasks, such as bending or walking.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are several treatments available that can help manage the symptoms, including:

  • Physical therapy: At Hybrid Physical therapy, we can design a customized exercise program to improve joint mobility, strength, and flexibility. We also provide different modalities such as dry needling and cupping that may also reduce pain.

  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. These medications can allow better results and tolerance during physical therapy interventions.

  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections can also help relieve pain and inflammation in the joint. This has also complimented physical therapy services as it allows the patient the ability to perform more exercises with less pain leading to better results.

  • Surgery: In severe cases, a total knee arthroplasty may be necessary to restore joint function.

Prevention of Osteoarthritis

While osteoarthritis is not always preventable, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight with proper diet to reduce stress on the joints.

  • Staying active and exercising regularly to maintain joint mobility and strength.

  • Avoiding repetitive motions or activities that put undue stress on the joints.

  • Protecting the joints during sports or other physical activities. Routine check-ups with your physical therapist!

How can Hybrid Physical Therapy help with your recovery?

In conclusion, osteoarthritis is a common joint condition that can cause pain and stiffness, but with proper management, patients can improve their quality of life and reduce their symptoms. One consideration with osteoarthritis is that it doesn't mean pain will always be present. Some individuals develop osteoarthritis at an early age but exhibit no symptoms. Don't stress over the simple diagnosis of osteoarthritis. We will provide a complete assessment to determine each patient’s needs to allow for appropriate corrective exercises to help with their symptoms.

Let Hybrid Physical Therapy be the ones to guide you to the road to success and optimize your performance.

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