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Physiotherapy for elderly people with arthritis

There are over a hundred different types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis that affects the elderly is osteoarthritis (OA). This is caused by degeneration of the cartilage by wear and tear. Physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint affected by arthritis can significantly reduce pain and improve function.

Diagnosis of arthritis

In order to diagnose arthritis, your doctor will ask you when the symptoms started, how quickly they are progressing, which joints are affected and if your symptoms are worse at certain times of the day or after specific activities. Your doctor may need a blood/ urine/ joint fluid sample and an X-ray in order to make a certain diagnosis. Sometimes it may be necessary to place a small camera inside the joint to take pictures of the degeneration of the joint. This is called an arthroscopy.

Soft tissue massage and mobilisations of the hand and fingersAbove: Soft tissue massage and mobilisations of the hand and fingers

Symptoms of arthritis

The symptoms of arthritis include pain, joint stiffness, a grating noise or sensation when the joint is moving and reduced range of movement. Individuals with arthritis may have muscular aches and feel fatigued. Arthritis can significantly impact on your ability to walk, move around and carry out normal functional activities. It can affect the upper or lower limbs. In the hand it may affect your ability to write, grip cutlery or manipulate small objects. In the lower limb, osteoarthritis can cause pain on standing and difficulty using the stairs.

Treatment for arthritis

Treatment for arthritis requires input from a specialist multi-disciplinary team. This may involve medical staff, surgeons, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, orthotists and dieticians. Your doctor will suggest various methods to control the pain such as medication, corticosteroid injections or joint replacement surgery. Occupational therapists will show you how to modify tasks that you are having difficulty with and provide aids and equipment to make them feasible. A dietician will explain how weight management can reduce the effects of osteoarthritis and reduce your pain. An orthotist will provide braces or splints to improve alignment of your joints during tasks and provide them with an appropriate resting position.

Physiotherapy for arthritis

Your physiotherapist at will carry out a detailed subjective and objective assessment in order to identify the type and nature of your symptoms, your functional problems and help you set realistic, achievable goals. Following thorough assessment by an experienced clinician at, the amount and frequency of treatment sessions will be discussed along with the contents of future treatment sessions in order to meet your needs. A treatment plan for an individual with arthritis may include: It is essential that your pain is controlled in order to effectively carry out exercises to strengthen the muscles that surround the joint. Your physiotherapist will suggest various methods of relieving pain – hot and cold bathing can be useful for lower limb pains whilst wax bath therapy is predominantly used for arthritis in the hands and fingers. Hydrotherapy is excellent for those with arthritis as it enables individuals to strengthen muscles and improve mobility in the comfort of a warm shallow pool that is similar to a swimming bath. Our hydrotherapy pool has rails, ramp access and is suitable for all ages and levels of ability.

All individuals with osteoarthritis substantially benefit from assessment and regular physiotherapy treatment. The benefits of physiotherapy include: Your physiotherapist will offer splints and braces to protect your joints if appropriate. A knee brace may be useful whilst walking or a resting splint for your wrist and hands whilst sleeping. There are a variety of orthotics available and your specialist physiotherapist will discuss the best option for you. You will be given lifestyle advice to help you maintain or improve your long-term mobility with regards to exercise tolerance and weight management.

Why choose for treatment of arthritis

At, we understand that arthritis can have a huge impact on your quality of life and we recognise that you will need extra support and advice. Physiotherapy minimizes the effects of arthritis and makes a substantial improvement to your overall well-being.
  • No waiting list
  • Treatment at home or in clinic
  • Individually tailored exercise programs
  • Motivated, friendly therapists
  • Liaison with your doctor and family
  • Treatment at any stage of your condition
  • Provision of useful equipment/adaptations
  • Access to specialist gymnasium
  • Access to hydrotherapy
  • Access to occupational therapy
Physiotherapy can significantly relieve the symptoms of arthritis and improve your ability to carry out everyday tasks and move around safely. Therapy sessions can be provided at any of our clinic locations or at home for your convenience. To book an appointment or talk to a specialist physiotherapist about the treatment of arthritis, please contact us now on 0330 088 7800. Or alternatively, please book an appointment online.

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