Our Leap Health clinicians help people with Osteoarthritis on a daily basis. It is a common ailment, with 1 in 11 Australians (9%) experiencing OA, approximately 2.1 million people in 2014–15. OA can occur at any age but is more common after 40 years of age or with history of joint injury, and worsens slowly over months or even years.
OA can occur in any joint of the body, though it most commonly affects the knees, hips, finger joints and big toe. This can result in a loss of mobility and function ranging from mild to severe, affecting activities of daily living.
What is OA?
Usually described as ‘wear and tear’, it is now thought of as the result of a joint trying extra hard to repair itself! Changes to your joints may include inflammation of surrounding tissue, damage to joint cartilage, bony spurs and ligament deterioration. As a result of these changes, the main symptoms experienced are joint pain and stiffness.
There is currently no cure for OA, though there is a lot you can do to manage your condition. Be wary of claims to cure OA, generally passive treatments are expensive and not backed up by reliable science! If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
The type of treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and joints affected. Your doctor may have to trial several treatments before finding the right one for you.
- weight loss program if overweight
- exercise program tailored to your ability and condition
- medicine for pain relief
- walking aides, braces, shoe insoles
If symptoms are no longer controlled with conservative measures and your function is affected, an orthopaedic review and joint replacement surgery may be warranted.
What can I do?
See your regular doctor to discuss treatment and advice to manage your symptoms. Learn more about your condition and play an active role in your treatment. Discuss suitable activity and exercise with a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist. Our hand therapy specialists are particularly useful in treating thumb OA. Discuss your diet with a Dietitian. A Podiatrist can help greatly with OA related foot pain, footwear advice and orthoses.
Seek support! It is understandable to feel frustrated, upset, sad or occasionally angry about your condition.
At Leap Health, we support both the conservative management of joint osteoarthritis and can provide post-operative rehabilitation. All of our health professionals are positioned to offer evidenced based treatment to improve your function and quality of life. We aim to lower your health care costs, avoid surgery where possible and get you back to your best function as soon as possible.
- Phone: (03) 6228 4824
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