By Jerry Moczerniuk PT, DPT
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the leading causes of global disability. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 27 million people in the United States are diagnosed with osteoarthritis. With OA of the knee and hip joints resulting in most functional disabilities.
Over the last decade there have been many studies looking at the impact of osteoarthritis on function and quality of life. Research has confirmed that knee and hip osteoarthritis are most adversely impactful on an individuals mobility, as well as their ability to perform routine daily activities such as walking in the supermarket, getting around the house, climbing stairs, and even getting in and out of a chair.
A recent study in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Journal looked further into how having osteoarthritis, and the extent of osteoarthritis can lead to cardiovascular disease and earlier mortality. The study identified almost 25,000 Swedish individuals through their health records with a diagnosis of knee or hip OA. These individuals, as well as ones without the diagnosis of OA were followed for a period of time from 2004-14.
The authors concluded that having hip or knee for a prolonged period of time significantly increases the risk of mortality from chronic heart disease and heart failure as compared to individuals without the diagnosis of OA. The authors recommended implementation of better treatment guidelines, with specific focus on addressing mobility limitations and improving physical activity in those individuals diagnosed with knee/hip OA.
The American Physical Therapy Association has long promoted physical activity for treatment of osteoarthritis as well. The benefits of physical activity on osteoarthritis have long been researched and confirmed. An individualized physical therapy treatment program, including manual techniques such as stretching, massage and joint movement, aerobic mobility exercises, guided therapeutic exercise progression have been proven to reduce pain and improve functional mobility in individuals with osteoarthritis. A big part of an individualized physical therapy approach is also to provide motivation and confidence for individuals with arthritis to begin an exercise regimen on their own.
In New Jersey you can be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist without a referral from your doctor.
Dr. Moczerniuk is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, member of American Physical Therapy Association, and a clinical director at db Orthopedic Physical Therapy of Manalapan LLC, located at 120 Craig Road, Suite 2. Dr. Moczerniuk can be reached at 732-462-2162 or via email at Jerry@dborthopt.com. Or, visit dborthopt.com.