Arthritis Osteoarthritis is often considered a “wear and tear” condition. It typically results from years of joint use. It can also occur when bones are not properly aligned. In either case, it can cause wearing away of the cartilage that keeps a joint healthy. When the cartilage is reduced or absent, it leads to bone rubbing against bone. This causes abnormal bony growth, significant pain and lack of proper movement.
The role of physical therapy in serving people with arthritis can vary from person to person. Surgery can sometimes be avoided with focused therapy and lifestyle adaptations. At Pouzol Physical Therapy, our staff helps by addressing a number of impairments associated with arthritis.
For example, we attend to pain management with the use of therapeutic modalities and manual therapy. We focus on strengthening to increase stability of the arthritic joint and flexibility to maintain or improve mobility. When appropriate, we also help the patient strategize how to modify his/her environment and activities to maintain the fullest function possible.
If arthritis has developed beyond the point of therapy effectiveness, surgery is sometimes required. Such surgeries can be arthroscopic, where abnormal bone is removed. If the condition has become severe enough, certain joints may be replaced altogether. Knee and hip replacements are the most common of such procedures.
When surgery is required, physical therapists can help both before and after surgery. Attending therapy prior to a procedure allows the patient to increase strength and flexibility as well as learn what to expect for post surgical rehabilitation. Also, this allows the patient to experience specific components of therapy without the impairments that accompany surgery like post-operative pain, incision site, swelling, weakness and reduced mobility.