Osteoarthritis or joint degeneration are often words that provoke fear of movement and a reluctance to participate in physical activity. However in most cases avoiding activity is the wrong thing to do. 
There are different grades of Osteoarthritis and in some cases surgery to replace a joint is required, however for the majority of people with degenerative changes in joints exercise and activity is likely to be beneficial and helpful in reducing discomfort 
This is particularly the case if the pain that you relate to or have been told is due to osteoarthritis is intermittent. A joint that may be degenerating or showing signs of Osteoarthritis can often tolerate a certain accumulation of load before it reacts. In weight bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips , lower back) accumulation of load can be measured by using step count functions on the latest tech gadgets (fit bits, phone apps). Or simply recording time spent on your feet. 
By monitoring your step count and symptoms it is likely that you will find a certain amount of steps per week which is comfortable for you and does not cause too much discomfort in joints that may be affected by osteoarthritis. Often the amount of load that you can tolerate will increase as you get stronger and fitter. 
Strengthening muscles, improving movement control/balance and taking on non weight bearing cardio exercises like swimming, cycling and rowing can also be extremely beneficial in reducing symptoms of Osteoarthritis, and if needed facilitate weight loss which reduces joint load. Exercises that induce fatigue of muscles (muscle ache after exercise) are more likely to result in strength gains which will benefit your joints. 
By finding a comfortable zone of load, participating in cardiovascular exercise improving strength and movement control Osteoarthritis does not have to prevent us from enjoying an active lifestyle. Our physiotherapists are always happy to help assist you in achieving this. 


Craig Fowlie 

Craig is a highly specialized physiotherapist with post graduate qualifications in Acupuncture and Sports and Exercise Medicine. 
He has worked with Professional Rugby sides in New Zealand and has assisted Great Britain Table Tennis at the World Team Championships and Olympic Qualifiers in Qatar and Germany. He is a consultant for the Governments Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme and has published and presented research in the Journal of Physiotherapy and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Conference. 
Outside of work he enjoys participating socially in triathlon and running. 
Share this post:

Leave a comment: 

Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings