The National Council for Osteopathic Research have provided a snapshot summary (2017) of key Osteopathic and Osteopathically relevant literature on the subject of Exercise therapy in the management of hip and knee Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a very common condition affecting over 8.5 million people over the age of 45 in the UK. It is effectively ‘wear and tear’ where the cartilage within the joints of the body starts to wear away and various other changes take place within the joint. The muscles around the joint start to tighten and stiffen resulting in symptoms including gradually developing pain aggravated or triggered by activity, stiffness lasting under 30 min on awakening and after inactivity and occasional joint swelling. Management of OA is divided into three areas: pharmacological; non-pharmacological; and surgical. Appropriate exercise or physical activity is recommended in all patient groups, irrespective of demographics, severity of the condition, and pain levels experienced.
Although it may seem sometimes counter-intuitive, there is strong evidence that exercise reduces OA pain and improves physical function. The 2014 NICE guidelines for the care and management of osteoarthritis in adults suggest that exercise is appropriate for all sufferers of osteoarthritis, irrespective of age, comorbidity, and pain levels. They also recommend a mix of aerobic and strength exercises, and that the patient be encouraged to carry out the exercise themselves.
The main findings of the report were as follows:
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