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Focus on Osteoarthritis

Today we're going to look at Osteoarthritis, one of the most common conditions that affect our joints as we age.


Did you know?

  • An estimated 18.8 million people live with a musculoskeletal condition in the UK (GBD 2017)

  • There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis

  • The most common two are Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

  • 8.75 million live with osteoarthritis

  • Each person is affected in a unique way

  • Estimated to cost the economy £10.2 billion in direct costs to the NHS and wider healthcare system

  • Cumulatively the healthcare cost will reach £118.6 billion over the next decade.

  • The cost of working days lost is £2.58 billion in 2017 rising to £3.43 billion by 2030.


Read on to find out more, including how you can live better with osteoarthritis.



This condition is more common in the older population. Typically coming on gradually over time, there is no cure for osteoarthritis but it can be managed with activity and pain relief.


In normal circumstances, our bone cartilage acts as a shock absorber enabling smooth movement of bones at joint sites. Osteoarthritis starts with progressive loss of this articular cartilage which leads to a degeneration of the joints. Once the articular cartilage has deteriorated badly enough, the bone becomes exposed and the bone surfaces become rough and thin. This causes:

  • Restricted movement at the joint

  • Joint crepitus (creaking or grinding) and pain

  • Difficulty performing impact activities

  • Thickening and uneven bone building at joints which further exacerbates the problem

  • In severe cases, this causes inflammation at the joint.


This condition can occur with and without symptoms of pain and weakness, it can affect any joint in the body, although it mostly occurs at the hips, knees, spine and hands. It can often increase muscle wastage around the affected joint as connective tissues, tendons and ligaments become tight, resulting in reduced range of movement.Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis

What should you look for?

  • Discomfort

  • Pain (during exercise and at rest)

  • Stiffness

  • Swelling

  • Decreased range of motion

  • Muscle weakness

  • Joint deformity

  • Joint instability

  • Depression

Treatments for Osteoarthritis


The main treatments are pain relievers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatories such as corticosteroids which aim to reduce swelling and pain.


Exercise for people living with osteoarthritis is proven to decrease joint pain and stiffness, improve or maintain joint motion and improve the ability to get on with a normal life (i.e. access in and out of car or going up and down stairs).



Benefits of exercise for osteoarthritis include:

  • Better pain management

  • Increased muscular strength

  • Improved bone mineral density protect against osteoporosis

  • Maintain control of weight Improved balance and co-ordination

  • Reduced stress and depression

  • Improved sleep patterns

  • Increased energy levels

  • Improved self-esteem


Osteoarthritis and Pilates


As we know, Pilates is a low impact activity which helps maintain flexibility, range of movement, all over strength, body control and back pain. As such, it is recommended by the NHS as a safe way to exercise with osteoarthritis, with NHS videos available online.


If you'd like more information on how you can use exercise to manage a joint condition, please click here to send me an email today.

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