Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints and is the most common type of arthritis in the UK.1 The good news, however, is that there's plenty we can do to ensure our quality of life isn't compromised.
Bethany Aitken, clinical services manager at AXA Health, highlights that the most effective approach focuses on self-management. This means doing what you can to preserve function and mobility of joints, like regular exercise, controlling body weight and treating injuries as and when they occur.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, for example shoulders, knees or your hands, but as it can take a long time to develop, there is time to be proactive.
It involves the loss of cartilage, the protective surface over the end of the bone, so that joints become swollen and painful.
A controlled exercise programme can help to control symptoms. A physiotherapist may offer mobilisation and stretching, and tips for pain relief, such as putting ice on the joint if it flares up, to help bring down any swelling.
Osteoarthritis can be a vicious circle, particularly among older people. So, how can we help ourselves?