(English) World Physiotherapy Day
We are pleased to celebrate this day, we would like to underline the role of physiotherapists in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
In a short interview, Dr. Francesco Ticchi, physiotherapist, and expert in pain therapy without the use of drugs
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by regressive changes in cartilage and changes in the bone, capsular and synovial components and can affect all joints, but the most affected are the hips, knees, and vertebrae. The cartilage that goes to degenerate is the one that covers the ends of the bones, especially those that have to support the weight of the body.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most frequent causes of joint pain and affects millions of people with an incidence of 50% (approximately) of the population over the age of 55-60 and accelerates its progressive severity when people are very sedentary. overweight or even obese.
What are the causes that lead to the onset of this pathology?
Arthrosis is a multifactorial disease for which various risk factors have been identified, including:
• Overweight and obesity. Excess weight overloads the joints, damaging, especially those of the hips, knees, and feet.
• Trauma, fractures, and joint injuries.
• Altered postures assumed for years
• Some sports in which there is premature wear of the cartilage of the feet and knees and hips
• Circulatory diseases that cause damage to the joints.
• Some forms of arthritis (gout, pseudo gout, or rheumatoid arthritis) damage the joint and make it more prone to cartilage damage.
• Some very strenuous professions.
What are the symptoms of those suffering from osteoarthritis?
In the initial non-severe phase, osteoarthritis does not present particular symptoms and pain is minimal or absent. In a more important degenerative stage, typical symptoms are pain, swelling (joint effusion), heat, hypotrophy, and joint stiffness, which in turn lead to a reduction in joint function and compromise normal life activities. daily.
When this disease affects the knees and hips, lameness can also occur.
What are the most useful and effective precautions that people affected by this pathology can put into practice?
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease which, as I said, gets worse with age and for those who are overweight. It cannot be cured; however, a strategy can be developed to delay aggravation.
The first thing to do is to be able to lose weight, if the person is obese or overweight, after which it would be advisable to do a specific motor activity, preferably under the supervision of competent health professionals.
In the presence of a mild degenerative state, in which the pain has not yet arisen, it is possible to practice sports, preferably in unloading or with reduced stress on the affected joints, limiting overloads and jumps.
In the case of a more advanced stage with the presence of pain, it may be useful, under medical prescription, to take anti-inflammatories or painkillers.
In severe cases, where the cartilage has completely worn away and the bones of the joint rub against each other, it may be necessary to undergo surgery to implant a prosthesis.
What are the most suitable therapies for treating osteoarthritis?
As I said above, it is a pathology that affects the cartilage and worsens with age, so it cannot be resolved, however, based on the degenerative state, specific treatments and treatments can be applied, clearly, all under medical indication.
The first approach is always the conservative one through physiotherapy treatments such as active or passive mobilizations, muscle strengthening, tecar therapy and laser therapy. A new electromedical device used by many physiotherapists has recently been released, called MICROLAB by LED SpA, which gives excellent results on pain and functional recovery.
When the degenerative phase is more advanced and physiotherapy is no longer sufficient, we move on to a periarticular infiltrative pharmacological treatment such as, analgesic mesotherapy, assisted by cortisone, hyaluronic acid, or growth factors (PRP), each of them with specific indications and effects. Finally, when conservative physiotherapy and pharmacological approach have exhausted their effects, we move on to the surgical one which offers numerous options based on the stage of osteoarthritis.
Each intervention is always completed with a specific rehabilitation path.