Physiotherapists treat a wide range of conditions, including osteoarthritis.

Ost eoarthritis affects approximately eight million people in the UK. It is the mos t common condition that affects joints and the most common form of arthritis. What is Osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects joints. People with osteoarthritis o ften suffer with mild inflammation of the tissues in and around their joints. J oints may become painful and stiff as osteoarthritis results in damage to cartil age, which prevents the joints from moving so easily. Bony growths can also deve lop around the edge of the joints. Osteoarthritis mostly occurs in the knees, hi ps and small joints of the hands and base of the big toe. However, almost any jo int can be affected. Who develops osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis usually develops in people over 50 years of age and is more commo n in women than in men. People often assume that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true. Elderly people often have osteoart hritic changes visible on x-ray, but do not always have problems with joint pain or reduced function. Younger people may also be affected by osteoarthritis, oft en as a result of trauma or another joint condition. Managing osteoarthritis The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary greatly with different people being affe cted in different ways. The amount of damage to joints and the severity of symp toms is also very variable. The severity of the pain experienced by those with o steoarthritis is not always consistent with the severity of the disease i.e. th e amount of damage to the joint. For example, a severely arthritic as joint ma y be pain free, whereas a mildly arthritic one may be exquisitely painful. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be eased with a variet y of different treatments. Mild symptoms can often be managed with exercises and lifestyle modifications . Maintaining a healthy weight and wearing sensible sho es is often helpful for those with osteoarthritic changes in their hips, knees, ankles or feet. Physiotherapy treatment and painkillers can also be very benefic ial for those with Osteoarthritis. However, in more advanced or severe cases ste roid injections or surgery may be necessary. How Can Physio Benefit Osteoarthritis Sufferers? Physiotherapy treatment can help people with osteoarthritis to manage their pain . Physiotherapists are also well placed to suggest appropriate lifestyle changes that will help to protect the joints and prevent unnecessarily flare ups of the condition. Physiotherapists help patients to improve their posture, joint range of movement, muscle strength and mobility. They can provide a series of exerci ses to help improve flexibility, strength and balance, helping to protect the jo ints. Additionally, physiotherapists can help people to improve their walking an d will provide walking aids, if needed. Walking sticks and frames can be used to protect an arthritic joint, reducing pain and improving walking style. Physiotherapists also see people following joint injections or surgery to help t hem restore range of motion, muscle strength and mobility. They provide effectiv e rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery and provide expert guidance and support both pre and post operatively. Stretch Physiotherapy and Pilates offers musculoskeletal physiotherapy in Essex from its beautiful clinic just outside of Chelmsford.

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