Arthritis affects tens of millions of Americans on a daily basis, and it can be a tricky condition to treat because there is no way to reverse the degeneration that has taken place. That’s not to say that the condition can’t be effectively treated and pain decreased, but you can’t regrow cartilage that has broken down over the years. Treating arthritis generally focuses on limiting further degeneration and strengthening the soft tissues around the affected joint, and that is oftentimes best achieved with physical therapy.
PT For Arthritis
Physical therapy can do wonders for individuals who are dealing with arthritis in the knee, hip, hands, shoulders or other joints in the body. Here’s a look at some goals that your physical therapist will work to help you achieve during your sessions:
- Improving Mobility In The Affected Joint – Arthritis and the loss of smooth cartilage can make movements painful or inhibit your ability to have a full range of motion. Concentrated exercises during physical therapy can help to restore joint mobility or prevent further immobility. This also inherently helps to prevent pain and discomfort when the joint is in use.
- Increasing Strength To Muscles That Support The Joint – Arthritis progression continues more rapidly if joints are overstressed, and one of the best ways to take some of the stress off your joints is by strengthening the muscle groups and soft tissues that help support the joint. If these muscles can handle more stress, there’s less that needs to be channelled through the joint, and less stress leads to less cartilage degeneration.
- Optimal Function – Some joints receive more stress than normal because of our body mechanics. For example, they way you walk may inherently put more stress on your knees and hips than if you made some gait adjustments. Your physical therapist can ensure your gait or your mechanics during athletic activities are optimal so that they aren’t overstressing certain joints.
- Daily Life Improvements – We can also talk about your daily activities and recommend some ways to help prevent arthritis progression. For some people, this may involve wearing a knee sleeve when running or a back brace while working at your desk. Maybe it will involve some ergonomic changes to your workstation or your home. We’ll learn about your daily routine and see how simple adjustments can help keep arthritis progression at bay.
Arthritis doesn’t need to control your life, and although we can’t turn back time and restore lost cartilage, we can help prevent further degeneration and help your joints function as optimally as possible as you continue to age. For more information, or to talk to a physical therapist about how arthritis is affecting your ability to do the things that you love, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.