Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes damage and inflammation throughout the musculoskeletal system. There are many different forms of arthritis, some of the most common forms are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Common symptoms across many forms of arthritis are pain, swelling, tenderness, joint stiffness, muscle weakness and decreased range of motion through the affected joints. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent affecting 7.8% Australians. In unaffected joints the cartilage covers the surfaces, absorbs shock and allows smooth movements. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage can wear down until little or none remains, causing the opposing bones to rub together. Commonly affected joints include the hips, knees, big toe, spine and hands.
- Older age
- Previous joint injury
- Genetics and muscle weakness
Arthritis is not yet curable but exercise can help you manage your condition by keeping your weight at a healthy level and keeping your muscles strong to support your joints. Low impact activities are the most appropriate form of exercise for arthritis suffers. At MTM Rehabilitation Gym we have a range of stationary bikes and an arm ergo so you can improve your aerobic fitness without overloading your weight bearing joints. Strengthening options include Pilates exercises and light machine weights.
Aerobic exercise will allow you to improve your cardio respiratory endurance that will help with activities of daily living and overall mobility. Whilst strength exercises for the hip, thigh and calf are important for daily function and are often weak in people with OA.
Some of the benefits of exercise for OA are listed below:
- Reduce pain
- Increase muscle strength
- Improve joint range of motion
- Improve balance
- Prevent de-conditioning (loss of fitness and muscle wasting)
- Improve physical function
- Improve well being
At MTM Rehabilitation Gym we are happy to write you up a hydrotherapy program to complete at your local pool if we feel that a gym environment is not the best way for you to exercise.
The greatest benefits come from performing exercise regularly and progressing gradually. Exercises that you enjoy and can easily complete daily. Should be chosen and developed into a program for you. Continuing a daily exercise routine will equip you with the ability to perform everyday activities leading to a greater overall wellbeing and an improved quality of life.
Arthritis can eventually lead to the need for joint replacement surgery. Remaining physically active and keeping your muscles strong, will improve joint stability and physical function. This will allow you to prolong the need for joint replacement surgery. Link to joint replacement!
Exercise is Medicine - http://exerciseismedicine.org.au/
ESSA position statement – A review of the clinical evidence for exercise in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee by Kim L. Bennell and Rana S. Hinman