We’ve all heard people say their arthritic joints are “bone on bone”, but what does that really mean?
The cartilage in our joints is designed to absorb shock/load but unfortunately doesn’t heal well. In arthritis, the cartilage first becomes dehydrated and eventually more brittle and unable to cope as well with the normal load (i.e. of walking). Small pieces can begin to crack and chip away over time. Eventually the cartilage becomes thin and some of the joint surface may have no cartilage left to absorb load. But because bone wasn’t designed to absorb shock, it swells and you get joint pain. The muscles around the joint are also affected because of changes to the way you move in response to reduced shock absorption and pain.
So, is it really “bone on bone?” For most people, the answer is no.
Arthritis progresses slowly and in many people never gets to the point where their cartilage is completely worn out. Much of the pain is due to swelling and involves all the structures of the joint including muscles, bone and the soft capsule that surrounds it. So, even when your x-rays show arthritis, you still have cartilage left in your joint!
So, what does that mean for you?
Well, the best research we have on early stages of arthritis suggests that exercise is the best treatment. You may be surprised because walking and exercise can make you feel worse, but the key is to find a type of exercise that suits you and doesn’t increase the load in your joints.
At The Physio Clinic we can offer advice on range of different exercise regimes to help you manage your arthritis and reduce pain. Hydrotherapy is especially appealing in this colder weather!
For more information call The Physio Clinic on 8342 1233 or click below to book online.
Prospect | Findon | Blackwood | Burnside Hospital