Motion is Lotion

Happy World Physiotherapy day – some thoughts on ARTHRITIC pain

The 8th of September is a public holiday in Malta, – this day is widely celebrated on the Maltese island, holding a well-renowned regatta race in the grand harbour and a Catholic feast dedicated to the Nativity of Mary celebrated in numerous villages in Malta and Gozo.

For physiotherapists, this day is an international celebration, World Physiotherapy Day.

World Physiotherapy Day was founded in 1996 with the aim of recognizing the “unity and solidarity of the global physiotherapy community. It is an opportunity to recognise work that physiotherapists do for their patients and community.”

This year’s physiotherapy day theme is Osteoarthritis (OA). Simply put, OA is wearing away of the joint surface, mainly of weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and lower back but also of smaller joints found in the neck and fingers. 

Although it is predominantly found in older people, younger people can also develop different variations of OA or arthritic pain. However, with regular exercise, a healthy diet and a stable weight, the likelihood of developing OA conditions decreases considerably.

How can Physiotherapy help?

A common complaint we hear in the clinic is that patients say that they are in pain as soon as they stand up from sitting and start walking  – but this is NOT because they are walking, but because the joints lack the necessary oil to keep them subtle and because they have been sitting for too long!  

  • Contrary to a lot of people’s beliefs, exercise should be the first line of treatment for OA conditions.  A visit to your physiotherapist will help you understand which exercises are beneficial to help keep your joints mobile, reduce stiffness and pain and make you stronger.
  • Small changes in daily activities can make big improvements in your pain and stiffness.
  • Reducing weight is also necessary if you are suffering from arthritis in your hips and knees.  Every 5 Kgs extra of weight increases the load on your joint by X36 (Lementowski & Zelicoli, 2008).  Even a small amount of weight loss can make a big difference in the risk of developing OA.  For a woman of normal height, for every 5 Kgs weight loss, the risk of knee OA decreases by 50%.

My doctor says that I have arthritis in my knees – can I continue running?

Yes, you can run with OA. Wrongly, it has become widely accepted that the impact forces generated during running, cause increased wearing of the joint surface and thus increase the likelihood of developing OA. On the contrary, research has shown that recreational runners have a lower occurrence of knee and hip arthritis than non-runners because the cartilage adapts to the repetitive stress placed upon it with loading. 

Speak to your physiotherapist so that they guide you on how to return back to running if you are suffering from arthritic painful hips and knees.

So keep moving!  MOTION IS LOTION – moving regularly it keeps your joints more flexible and less painful.

HAPPY WORLD PHYSIOTHERAPY DAY from the Physio Central Team, Mosta

08th September 2022