The Best Initial Treatment for Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common lifestyle disease in individuals 65 year of age and older, but can also affect individuals as young as 30 years of age. It can begin for no obvious reason and the symptoms vary over a number of years. OA effects the joints wherein the cartilage on the ends of the bones degrade and thin. It most commonly affects the knee, hip and hands. People with OA of the hip or knee may experience the following symptoms and difficulties with activities of daily living:

  • Knee pain and/or stiffness with weight-bearing.
  • Crunching or clicking noises in the knee
  • Difficulty walking up stairs or getting up from sitting.
  • Hip pain located outside the hip or deep in the groin
  • Difficulty getting in and out of the car, putting on socks or picking things up from the floor.

OA was previously thought of as a “wear and tear” and that the joint was worn out. This led many people to believe they cannot and should not be physically active with OA. This is not correct!! In fact, many studies have shown that cartilage actually needs moderate load through physical activity to regenerate itself. Exercise will make you feel better.

The current national and international clinical guidelines recommend patient education, exercise and weight loss (if needed) as first line treatment for OA.

Good Life with OA in Demark (GLA:D) represents a nationwide evidence-based initiative that follows the current guidelines for best treatment of hip and knee OA . Research from the GLA:D® program in Denmark found symptom progression reduces by 32%.

Other outcomes include a less pain, reduced use of joint related pain killers, and less people on sick leave. GLA:D® participants also reported high levels of satisfaction with the program and increased levels of physical activity 12 months after starting the program.

This program is unique in that the education and exercises provided can be applied to everyday activities. By strengthening and correcting daily movement patterns, participants will train their bodies to move properly, prevent symptom progression and reduce pain

The program includes an assessment and physical tests performed by a trained GLA:D Physiotherapist, patient education sessions and a Physiotherapist supervised group or home exercise program performed twice per week over 6 weeks. The exercises are designed specifically for people with knee and hip OA with many level and progressions based on your level of pain and function. The idea is after 6 weeks you have the movement, quality and control needed to continue and become a part of your every day life.

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