Arthritis

  1. What is arthritis?

Basically, it means inflammation of the joints. Arthro means joint, and itis is for inflammation.

Although the causes are varied, the symptoms are mainly pain, swelling and difficulty moving. In some cases it is accompanied by redness ,warmth and deformity of the joint. 




What are the types of arthritis?

  • Osteoarthritis: The most common type, it is most frequently seen with the knee joints. With age and activity, the cartilage in the joint begins to break down, causing the weight to be borne directly by the bone. Small broken pieces of cartilage float within the joint, making it difficult to move the joint. The exposed surfaces of bone begin to break down. Small bony spurs begin to grow, and the joint loses its normal alignment, causing abnormal weight bearing. It can happen in any joint in the body. 

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  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s own immune system  attacks and destroys synovial (joint) tissues. It causes chronic inflammation and other symptoms in addition to joint damage. It affects multiple, small joints.

  • Psoriatic Arthritis: Another autoimmune condition, it affects the joints and skin.

  • Gout: It occurs when excess uric acid in the body is deposited as crystals within the soft tissues.

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What joints can be affected by arthritis? 

  • Osteoarthritis, which is due to wear and tear, is more common in weight bearing joints like knees, hips and spine.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and gout frequently affect small joints in the hands and feet.

  • Obesity, injury increase the risk of developing arthritis.

How does physiotherapy help in arthritis?

  • Pain relief can be provided by techniques like ice, heat or electrotherapy.

  • Increasing your flexibility helps to move easier and reduce stiffness.

  • Strengthening exercises help to take the load off joints.

  • Your physiotherapist will provide you with an exercise program to build up your balance and overall aerobic capacity to ensure maximum quality of life.