Archive for July, 2018

Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are many different forms of arthritis, however, the two most common forms are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

 

What is it?

We will start by looking at normal joint anatomy. A joint is formed where two bones meet, allowing movement. The bones are covered in an outer layer of cartilage which is smooth and creates a slippery surface allowing the bones to move against each other. The joint is surrounded by a structure called the synovium, which produces a small amount of fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint.

 

Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage, which wears away and becomes thin and rough. The bone can then respond trying to repair the problem but can overgrow as a result, altering the shape of the joint. This type of arthritis most commonly affects joints under heavy loads, such as the hip and knee, but also the thumb, big toe, neck, and back. Osteoarthritis can also occur in joints that have previously been injured or damaged.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the synovium, which becomes red, warm, and swells. When this inflammation goes down the capsule remains stretched which affects the stability within the joint. With this type of arthritis, you can have repeated flare-ups, and with each flare-up, more damage is done to the joint. The condition usually starts slowly, affecting fingers, wrists and the balls of your feet first.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint pain and swelling (usually intermittent with good days and bad days)
  • Stiffness, especially first thing in the morning
  • A grating or grinding sensation

Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Tiredness, depression, irritability
  • Anaemia
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as feeling generally ill, feeling hot and sweating

 

Can we help?

 

Yes. Our bodies are designed for movement and lack of movement quickly compounds the pain and damage of the condition. By addressing the strength of the muscles that support the affected joint and by mobilising and stretching the stiff, tight joint, and addressing any biomechanical factors pain can be alleviated.

 

Our Physiotherapists can provide a thorough assessment, design a strengthening program, and help to address joint stiffness. They can also advise you on how to pace your activities so that you don’t overdo things, and learn how to recognise when rest is advisable. They can also provide acupuncture which has been shown to be a highly effective treatment option for osteoarthritis.

 

Although physiotherapy cannot change the disease process it is better than any tablet or medicine in putting you back in charge of your body. It will provide you with the input to help restore physical function and create the best environment to maintain strong muscular and cardiovascular fitness.

 

Our Biomechanical Podiatrists can determine if there is excess stress being placed on joints by poor general posture, especially foot posture. This can be rectified with orthotics if necessary. A biomechanist can also advise on appropriate footwear.

 

Our Massage therapists can also help with general relaxation, as well as aiding in improving muscle length, which will help to unload the affected joint and reduce pain.

 

Our Pilates classes can also be an effective way of building muscle strength and flexibility to keep you moving, active and healthy.

 

If you’re suffering from arthritis, we can help. Give us a call on 01380 730473 and we’ll book you in for a consultation. 

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Tennis Elbow: Just for tennis players?

Tennis elbow is a common condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow (clinically known as lateral epicondylitis or lateral elbow tendinopathy). It’s often thought to be an injury caused by overusing the affected muscle (often the wrist extensor muscle). Research suggests that this injury can affect up to 3% of the population and mostly affects those aged between 35–50 who have a history of repetitive activities using the upper body.

 

What are the symptoms?

  •  You may notice pain on the outside of your upper forearm, just below the bend of your elbow
  •  Movements such as extending your elbow or wrist may be difficult or painful
  •  Gripping small objects, or twisting your forearm such as turning a door handle
  •  Long periods sitting at a desk and typing may also aggravate the elbow

What causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow is caused by repeated gripping and/or wrist extension. Although this injury can develop from sports, day-to-day activities where repetitive or forceful actions are made can also provoke this injury.

 

How can we help you?

Firstly, our highly experienced Physiotherapists will provide you with a thorough examination and assessment to accurately diagnose the condition. From these findings, we will create a personal treatment pathway that will effectively treat the condition. This will be bespoke to you and specific to your occupation and physical activities.

There are many treatments available for this condition, depending on how long you’ve had the injury and the severity of it:

  • Education & Advice- Initially resting from the aggravating activity is important, and in some cases advice on anti-inflammatory medication maybe required.
  • Ultrasound Therapy- To stimulate the healing process and speed up recovery.
  • Soft Tissue Massage- To reduce tension, improve mobility and ease your pain.
  • Acupuncture- This can stimulate the body’s natural healing process and relieve pain.
  • Exercise & Rehabilitation- Sometimes with this condition, to simply rest is inadequate and exercise is required to help strengthen the muscles.
  • Ergonomic & Postural Advice – With desk work and other occupational activities causing this condition, managing your day to day activities, and ensuring that you have correct posture is vital.

 

If you suspect you have Tennis Elbow, give our friendly team a call on 01380 730473 to book an appointment with a Physio.

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The Importance Of Keeping Active & Moving As You Age

We’ve all been told how important it is to keep active and moving to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but as we get older, it’s common to become less motivated to exercise for various reasons. Perhaps we don’t feel we have enough energy to exercise like we used to or maybe it’s the idea of exercise causing niggles or injuries that puts us off.

 

Either way, it’s important that we find a way to conquer these feelings as when aches and pains start to increase or tasks that once seemed easy become difficult, exercise becomes more important than ever.

 

Why?

Research shows that keeping active improves your physical health, emotional well being and overall life expectancy. Regular exercise can also improve your quality of sleep, help you maintain a healthy weight and help you manage your stress levels.

 

How do I get started?

National guidelines supported by Physiotherapists recommend that every individual should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

It’s recommended that you exercise at a pace that makes you feel warm and slightly out of breath. This is usually the case when you can just about hold a conversation without needing to stop for a breath during exercise. Your pace may be different to others, particularly as you get older, as you might find that you don’t walk as quickly or as far as you used to. However, that really doesn’t matter – what matters is that you exercise at the right level for you.

 

At Hatts, it’s our priority to keep you active and moving throughout your life, so if you need any advice or support, please give our friendly team a call on 01380 730473.

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