Why Did The Doctor Send Me To Physical Therapy If I Have Arthritis?

Working in outpatient orthopedics, I get this question a lot but what I’ll explain is that it’s the best place for you to be!

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is basically “wear and tear” of our joints. Our bones are lined with cartilage which helps to protect our joints and allows them to move with ease. The cartilage begins to wear down, becomes frayed and can lead to what you may have been told is “bone on bone” in the joint. When the cartilage is rough, it’s difficult for our bones to glide, which leads to joint stiffness and restricted motion. This is most common in the hips and knees.

Enter Physical Therapy. Studies have shown a lack of exercise contributes to a decrease in joint mobility and can worsen the condition. This may eventually lead to a loss of motion and increased pain, which can ultimately require surgery. Exercise will continue to preserve the available motion at a joint and maintain blood flow, which in turn brings nutrients to the joint to help with healing. In addition, a detailed and individualized home exercise program helps improve strength in the surrounding muscles of the arthritic joint and reduces pressure on the arthritic bone.

As physical therapists, our job is to assess the joint’s mobility and the strength in the surrounding muscles to develop a home exercise program. Your therapist will explain what exercise is best for your current condition as well as how to properly perform these exercises in hopes of decreasing your overall pain and improving functional mobility.

Feel free to reach out to OSI Physical Therapy (651-275-4706) for a free phone consultation or to set up an appointment.