What do I need to know?
Osteoarthritis is a common and painful condition.
But do you know what it is and what you can do to manage it?
What is OA?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of joint disease. Some of the parts within and around your joints become damaged so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should. Any joint can be affected, but knees, hips and hands are most common. Symptoms often include pain, stiffness, difficulty doing certain activities, a grating or grinding noise, or swelling. Not everyone will experience all these symptoms, and they may range from very mild to very severe. OA is more common in people over 45 years old, women, people who are overweight, and in people with a previous joint injury.
Further information on OA and what it is can be found here.
What should I do first?
There are several things you should try first to help with your OA symptoms:
get informed, learn more about OA and your treatment options.
maintain a healthy weight (and lose weight if you’re overweight)
maintain a good sleep pattern, and get help to improve your mood
reduce stress on the joint when doing painful activities (e.g. pace your activity, use a walking stick, a brace, or wear appropriate footwear)
Ideas for action can be found here.
What if this doesn't help?
Sometimes you may need more help or additional advice:
visit a physiotherapist, dietitian or other health professional for advice
speak to your GP or pharmacist about appropriate medications, or other things you can do.
Don't stop moving! Gentle exercise helps with pain and stiffness.
Not all pain or anti-inflammatory medications work for OA, and some may be harmful.
Most people do not need a joint replacement.