In normal joints of the body, cartilage provides a smooth surface for joint motion. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition affecting the cartilage of the joints. It causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints and can lead to reduced movement. OA commonly affects the knees, hips, lower back, neck and hands.
While it may be hard to think of exercising when your joints hurt, moving is an important part of managing OA. Basic range of motion exercises and/or simple, non-impact activities are best for the joints. Swimming or water aerobics, cycling, light walking or using an elliptical machine all provide little joint impact. Cross country skiing or snowshoeing are good outdoor options this time of year. Lastly, strengthening your muscles help support your joints.
Physiotherapy can assist in the long-term management of OA by helping to manage symptoms, improve joint strength and mobility, and helping choose the right form of exercise for you. Talk to your Summit physiotherapist to help you get moving!