Osteoarthritis is a degenerative and inflammatory disease (no longer just considered “wear and tear”) that affects 1 in 10 Australians. Unfortunately 30% of arthritis cases end up having unnecessary joint surgery such as hip and knee replacements. Not only are these interventions costly and dangerous, but they cause disability and require significant rehabilitation and recovery time. To prevent unnecessary surgery, it is important to manage osteoarthritis as proactively as possible by doing the following:

  • Reduce weight if you are overweight or obese – even a 5% reduction enables a significant improvement in pain, function and surgical risks
  • Learn more about osteoarthritis and what you can do at home – refer to Arthritis Australia
  • See your GP about pain management and have a plan in place for flare-ups – currently anti-inflammatory medications e.g. nurofen or voltaren are considered first line therapies, in addition to paracetamol and heat/cold treatment
  • Pace your activity and consider home modifications e.g. shower rails, tap turners – here is a home survival booklet
  • Don’t be afraid to use aids to help with day to day routines, such as walking sticks, insoles or orthotics, support braces
  • Reduce any risk of falls – a third of folks over 65 years of age fall each year, resulting in falls being the most common reason for hospital admission in the older age group
  • Exercise more rather than less – exercise strengthens muscles around joints, improves balance, aids sleep and reduces pain. Land or water-based activity and strength training improves pain, physical function and quality of life in those living with arthritis
  • Join a local support group to take control – self-management and telephone-based support can significantly improve pain and disability

If you are not succeeding, talk to the Osana team and ensure you have the right diagnosis (there may be other types of arthritis or joint conditions in play). Referral to pain clinics, radiology for cortisone injections, rheumatology for cartilage injections are potential treatments for severe osteoarthritis. Consider orthopaedic intervention only as a last resort.