PHYSIOTHERAPY AND OSTEOARTHRITIS

Osteoarthritis (OA) has been described as the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people globally. 

What is Osteoarthritis?

It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over a period of time. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the main affected joints are hands, knees, hips, ankles and lumbar spine. 

 

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis was long believed to be caused by the wearing down of joints over time. However, now it can be viewed as a disease of the joint. The below can increase your risk of developing OA:

  • Age – the risk of developing OA increases with ageing because as we get older, our bones, muscles and joints are also ageing
  • Joint injury – a break or tear, can lead to OA in later years
  • Overuse – using the same joints repeatedly can result in OA
  •  Obesity – extra weight puts more stress on a joint and fat cells promote inflammation
  • Weak muscles – joints can get out of the right position when there’s not enough support
  • Genetics – people with family members who have OA are more likely to develop OA
  • Gender – women are more likely to develop OA than males

 

Key Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

  • Pain or aching in the joint during activity, after long duration of physical activity or at the end of a busy day
  • Joint stiffness usually occurs first thing in the morning or after resting for a long period of time
  • Limited range of motion – this can go away when movement begins 
  •  Clicking or cracking sound when a joint bends 
  • Swelling around a joint
  • Muscle weakness around the joint
  • Joint instability or buckling (Knee giving out) 

 

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapy treatment provides effective results with even severely damaged arthritic joints. The first step is to embark on a thorough assessment for treatment prescription as each case of Osteoarthritis is different. Treatment may comprise of:

  • Joint mobilisation 
  • Exercise prescription to develop an individualised plan of exercises with the goal to improve flexibility, strength, coordination and balance to achieve our client’s optimal physical function
  • Dry needling 
  • Hydrotherapy 
  • Manual therapy 
  • Proper education on Osteoarthritis 
  • Activity modification 
  • Joint loading 

 

Our muscles, ligaments, bones, tendons and cartilage love to be loaded (correctly) – which is how we overcome imbalances and achieve change! 

 

Our job as Physio’s is to achieve optimal loading to provide physical function. We prescribe the correct amount depending on the severity of each client’s Osteoarthritis, too much load can cause your tissues to break down faster than they can recover. Too little load and it won’t be effective enough to make a difference in your tissues. 

 

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.