Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that mostly affects the hands, spine and joints such as hips, knees and ankles, and usually gets worse over time. It is the predominant condition leading to knee and hip replacement surgery in Australia.
Osteoarthritis is a huge problem with Australian self reported data showing:
- 2.1 million Australians suffer from osteoarthritis
- Women are 2 x as likely to suffer osteoarthritis as men
- More than 25% of people with osteoarthritis rate their health as only “poor” or “fair”
- The last 10years has seen a 29% increase in knee and hip replacements from osteoarthritis
Estimates show by the year 2032, due to growing obesity and our ageing population as many as 3 million Australians will be living with osteoarthritis.
Well my friends… Today I have good news if you’re battling osteoarthritis!
The simple answer is you need to move more!
As well as the overall health benefits, exercise has been shown to improve overall function, reduce pain and improve health related quality of life for people with osteoarthritis… BUT
Oh you knew there’d be a BUT…
BUT you have to stick with it!
There that wasn’t so bad was it? The benefits for exercise include being able to perform your usual daily activities more easily, being able to participate in leisure activities such as golf or playing with the grandkids, feeling more in-control and positive about your overall health outlook and even possibly delaying or avoiding surgery all together.
Sounds pretty good right?
Right! Now I want to get started. What exercises are going to help me.
There’s no clear evidence that one form of exercise is the “go-to” or best exercise for managing osteoarthritis. What we do know is that people with osteoarthritis often suffer chronic muscle wasting or reduced strength which results in making many daily and leisure activities more difficult.
So here’s my number one tip:
Seek advice from a health professional experienced in prescribing exercise.
Osteoarthritis is a health condition so it makes sense to see a health professional. Right?
Now there are a lot of well meaning exercise consultants out there that will help you to gain strength or loose weight, all of which may assist with managing your osteoarthritis but all too often the exercises are prescribed without a good understanding of your condition and may actually make your symptoms worse. If this happens, you’re not likely to stick with it!
Physiotherapists and Accredited Exercise Physiologists are trained health professionals experienced in prescribing exercise for people with health conditions like osteoarthritis. The will help you by:
- Setting an exercise program that has been tailored to your unique needs and symptoms. Your interests and preferences for exercise are important – some people prefer to exercise in a group, while others prefer to exercise independently.
- Helping you to set realistic short and long-term goals and work towards achieving them. This can help keep up motivation levels.
Our number one priority is to see you stick with it! So why not give exercise a try today
 Australian Institute of Health and Wellness (2017) Osteoarthritis.
 Medibank (2016) Managing Osteoarthritis: Is exercises the answer?