Many people living with Osteoarthritis avoid exercise for fear that it’ll worsen their symptoms. So, can you exercise safely with osteoarthritis? We asked Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Zac O’Rourke, to give us the facts about this condition and explain the role that exercise plays in managing symptoms.
WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic joint disease and one of the leading causes of pain and disability in Australia. The joints most commonly affected are the hips and knees. People living with OA often experience a range of symptoms including pain, stiffness, swelling, joint instability and muscle weakness. These symptoms often result in functional limitations, disability and reduced quality of life.
HOW CAN YOU TREAT OSTEOARTHRITIS?
The first-line treatment for someone experiencing hip and/or knee osteoarthritis should be an individualised exercise program. It’s important to educate them about their condition and help them to best manage their symptoms. Often sufferers will need support and encouragement early in the rehabilitative process. Ultimately however, the end-goal should be to empower the person to self-manage their condition independently. This is especially important as adherence to regular exercise will dictate the long-term success from an exercise intervention for OA. For those who are overweight, weight loss will also play an essential role in the management of symptoms.