What is Osteoarthritis and How To Reduce The Pain?

What is Osteoarthritis and How To Reduce The Pain?

Osteoarthritis is commonly called “wear and tear” and is a type of arthritis where cartilage in your joints start to degenerate. Cartilage is a rubbery protective substance that coats the end of our bones and connects them together. This helps reduce friction when you move and acts like a shock absorber.

When this protective covering starts to break down, it may change the way the joint and surrounding muscles function which can cause pain during movement. If untreated, the cartilage may become even more irritated causing more pain and loss of function.

When loss of cartilage occurs, the bones my also begin to grow outward forming bone spurs, also known as osteophytes.

What Are The Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

The most common symptoms are:

  • Joint Pain – most often described as an achy feeling in the joint. This most often occurs in the morning or when moving after resting for a longer period of time.
  • Inflammation – swelling around the affected joint.
  • Stiffness – where the joint can feel stiff and hard to move when sitting too long or when getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Tenderness on palpation  – can be painful to touch
  • Limited range of motion – reduced flexibility in your joint making certain activities difficult to perform.
  • Loss of Strength
  • Joint Crepitus – Crunchy, snapping, and clicking sound when you move the joint.

Different types of arthritis courtesy of Fit for Life Physiotherapy (Read the caption)

Where Can You Get Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis affects one in six Canadians and can affect almost every joint in your body such as:knee

  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Ankle
  • Spine
  • Elbow
  • Foot
  • Hand
  • Jaw
  • Lower Back
  • Neck
  • Shoulder
  • Spine
  • Wrist
  • Tips of fingers

Arthritis courtesy of Equilibrium (Read the caption)

Osteoarthritis Treatment: What’s The Best Way To Treat It?

Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis there are simple things you can do that can significantly reduce pain and improve functionality. It is important to know that although you cannot reverse osteoarthritic ageing, pain with this condition can always be modulated. 

Here are some things you can do:

  • Strengthen the muscles around the affected joint. A Physiotherapist can help you with this.
  • Modify activities that put stress on your joint (swimming, walking, bicycling etc). For example, you may need to temporarily shorten your walking times, but as you improve function you will be able to increase overall volume.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – losing weight reduces pressure on the joints specifically on the hips and knees. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce pain and improve function.
  • Use cold or heat therapy to reduce joint pain

At times, the use of assistive devices may also reduce pressure on the joint. A Physiotherapist can recommend which devices are best for you. Common devices include:

  • Custom bracing
  • A cane or walker to take the stress off of the ankles, hips, and knees
  • Splinting for hands or feet

Manual Osteopathy courtesy of INNOVA Integrated Wellness Centre (Read the caption)

How Can Physiotherapy Help Osteoarthritis?

Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for OA that can help you avoid surgery and painkiller use. It does this by focusing on strengthening the muscles around your affected joint. Not only that, a Physiotherapist will teach you how to properly use your joints correctly to help reduce your symptoms.

Your Physiotherapist may:

  • Complete a detailed assessment of your symptoms
  • Observe which activities you find difficult
  • Create a customized exercise program to help improve your range of motion, gain strength and reduce pain.
  • If needed, recommend lifestyle changes for weight loss.

If you think you may have osteoarthritis or have been diagnosed and want to know “what’s next”, use the search box on this page to find a top Physiotherapy near you.  You can schedule a free consultation.

Check out this swipe post to learn more baout Osteoarthritis courtesy of BeActive Physiotherapy and Wellness (Read the caption)


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, it’s a degenerative disease. If left untreated it may continue to worsen.

Yes, some of the known Osteoarthritis causes are:

  • Being overweight
  • Repetitive stress on the join
  • Previous injuries

Steps you can take to reduce your chances are exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, lifestyle modification, and improve posture.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that involves the degeneration of joints that is caused by normal wear and tear on your bones. Arthritis is an umbrella term that involves osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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