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Osteoarthritis: Motion is Lotion

Osteoarthritis, commonly abbreviated to arthritis, is the gradual wearing of the cartilage at the end of bones. This is a very common condition, particularly in the knees and hips due to the loading of these joints throughout the day. Osteoarthritis is most commonly noticed or diagnosed when it leads to pain and/or discomfort during previously pain-free activities.

Common signs of osteoarthritis

- Pain in joints with activity

- Stiffness in joints first thing in the morning or after prolonged rest

- Decreased range of motion in joints

Due to the pain and stiffness in joints with arthritis, people often tend to decrease their activity levels because things they used to do (i.e. walking, running, working out, household chores, etc.) are now painful. However, decreased activity commonly leads to increased levels of pain resulting from increased stiffness and decreased range of motion. An appropriately tailored exercise program is vital for decreasing pain with osteoarthritis. Hence, {appropriate} motion is lotion.

Tips for exercising with arthritis

- Start easy and progress slowly: Start with light activities for short bouts of time to see how your body responds. Remember something is better than nothing so even just 3-5 minutes of exercise is beneficial!

- Participate in joint friendly activities: Joint friendly activities are low impact to provide less stress to the joints. Examples include swimming, biking, and walking. Select a starting activity that is pain-free and progress from there.

- Incorporate different types of activities: Your exercise program should consist of aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises. Aerobic exercises are important to help with cardiovascular fitness and to allow for healthy fluids to move through joints. Strengthening exercises allow for increased muscular support to joints to decrease the stresses placed on the bones. Flexibility exercises help to maintain range of motion.

- Speak with a healthcare professional before beginning a new exercise program: This is the most important tip! Anytime someone begins a new exercise program, it is important to first speak with a healthcare professional to assure the program is safe to begin and to get personalized tips.

If you or someone you know struggles with joint pain from osteoarthritis, keep these tips in mind. Remember- motion is lotion as long as it is appropriately dosed and does not increase your pain. If you would like to have a thorough evaluation completed by one of our Physical Therapists, please call us to schedule an examination. We would love to help you achieve your activity goals and get back to living the life you love!

Kaitlin Wensinger, PT, DPT


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