What is arthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by thinning and destruction of the articular cartilage of the joints, followed by remodeling of the underlying bony surfaces.  Primary OA is arthritis of a totally unknown cause.  Secondary OA is that of a clearly recognized causative factor.

Articular cartilage is a very complex tissue.  Articular cartilage has three layers.  Its draws its strength from collagen fibers and its resiliency from proteoglycans that attract water to the connective tissue matrix that is a structural support of cartilage.  Cartilage is 60 – 80% water by weight.

What causes arthritis?

Articular cartilage acts as a shock absorber and reducer of friction. Normal human cartilage without injury, should last for 80 years and be able to absorb forces greater than 8 times a person’s body weight without compromise.  The factors that seem to hasten the destruction of articular cartilage and accelerate deterioration in arthritis are:

  • Excessive body weight
  • A lack of joint surface congruency, lubrication and pathology due to poor mechanics
  • A loss of integrity in ligaments and strength of surrounding muscles

As the changes in the joint progress, there is loss of key materials, which in turn causes a loss of water in cartilage.  The cartilage loses its elasticity, becomes less resistant to repeated stress, and the process of disintegration of cartilage begins.

How can Medical Exercise help?

Physical therapy and exercise form the foundation of treatment for the arthritic client.  The progress made with physical therapy should be maintained via a structured and supervised Medical Exercise program which includes strength, balance, and flexibility training.

Our Arthritis exercise program focuses on managing the factors accelerating the destruction of the articular cartilage. We design exercises progressions that improve the strength, stability, and balance of the muscles surrounding your arthritic joints in order to remove joint stress and manage inflammation.

Our goals and objectives are to:

  • Increase and maintain functional strength, endurance, joint stability
  • Increase cardiovascular levels so you will have more energy throughout the day
  • Increase and maintain Range of Motion (ROM) in your affected joints
  • Improve and maintain joint strength and stability
  • Develop home stretching and strengthening program

As Medical Exercise Practitioners, we are trained to avoid any activities that will aggravate your condition. As we design your Arthritis exercise program, we take the necessary precautions to:

  • Avoid high impact activities
  • Avoid stretching or moving in to the extremes of ROM that will cause pain
  • Not exercise or make effective exercise modification to painful or swollen joints

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