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Arthritis is the wearing, degeneration or loss of articular cartilage in a joint. The three most common types of joint arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a gradual wearing and degeneration of the joint surfaces or articular cartilage. Osteoarthritis is most common in people who are middle age and adults over the age of 50. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, and it can affect one joint or both.

Causes

Common causes of osteoarthritis include:

  • Genetics and family history can predispose individuals to developing osteoarthritis and joint degeneration
  • Ligament or meniscus damage can affect the stability and integrity of the joint, placing more stress on the joint or articular cartilage. The increased stress and force placed on the joint surfaces can lead to wear and tear on the joint.
  • Repetitive strain injuries can damage and accelerate wear on joint surfaces
  • Obesity causes increased weight and pressure on the joints, when performing everyday activities. This puts added stress on the joints, increasing forces on the cartilage.
  • Diseases of the joint cartilage
  • Excessive use of steroids or steroid medication can result in degeneration of the joint and cartilage.
  • Previous trauma to a joint can increase wear and tear and the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis.

Symptoms

  • Pain and achiness in the affected joint.
  • Loss of motion of the affected joint. Stiffness may improve with movement.
  • Noticeable swelling around the joint.
  • Increased size or deformity of the joint
  • Weakness may be present making it difficult to perform daily activities
  • Cracking, crunching or joint noise called crepitus when moving the affected joint.

Physical Therapy Interventions

Physical Therapists are professionals, educated and trained to administer interventions. As defined by The Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, interventions are the skilled and purposeful use of physical therapy methods and techniques to produce changes consistent with the diagnosis, prognosis and the patient or client’s goals.

Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation to assess and determine the following:

  • Joint: a series of measurements will be performed to determine which joint is involved and the extent to which the inflammation is acute
  • Strength: resisted testing is performed to determine if there is associated weakness or strength imbalances
  • Flexibility: range of motion measurements will be taken to determine if there is reduced joint movement
  • Technique and ADL: the therapist will review what activities you have difficulty with and will help you make modifications in technique to reduce stress on the involved joint.
  • Gait, Balance and Alignment: the therapist will assess your gait and balance on even and uneven surfaces. An assistive device such as a cane or walker may be indicated to improve safety, gait and reduce stress on the effected joint.

Physical therapy for osteoarthritis must remain conservative at the onset to avoid aggravating the condition. Emphasis will be placed on rest, reducing the inflammation, protecting the joint and increasing the blood circulation for healing. Once the initial inflammation has reduced, a program of stretching and strengthening will be initiated to restore flexibility and improve strength to reduce stress on the joint. Taping, bracing or strapping to rest and protect the joint while promoting healing may be indicated.

Treatments

  • Manual Therapeutic Technique (MTT): hands on care including soft tissue massage, stretching and joint mobilization by a physical therapist to improve alignment, mobility and range of motion of the affected joint. The use of mobilization techniques also helps to modulate pain.
  • Therapeutic Exercises (TE) including stretching and strengthening exercises to regain range of motion and strengthen muscles of the joint and affected extremity to support, stabilize and decrease the stresses place on joint cartilage.
  • Neuromuscular Reeducation (NMR) to restore stability, retrain the affected extremity and improve movement techniques and mechanics (for example, running, kneeling, squatting and jumping) of the involved extremity to reduce stress on the joint surfaces in daily activities. Taping, strapping or bracing may be indicated for joint protection and promote healing. Gait and balance training may be indicated in those that have issues with walking.
  • Modalities including the use of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice, cold, laser and others to decrease pain and inflammation of the involved joint.

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Real People, Real Testimonials.

"The therapists and staff at the Twin Boro in North Brunswick truly place their patients first. My six month experience at this office was outstanding. Coming to Twinboro, I was unsure of my diagnosis, but with the help and dedication of my therapist Ivana, answers were found and exercises were set in place to treat my symptoms. Ivana made coming to therapy an enjoyable experience with her attention to detail, compassion, and sociability. It was evident through the environment Ivana created for that she listens to her patients and makes decisions with the best interest of the patient in mind. If you need to attend physical therapy and are in the area, Twin Boro in North Brunswick is the right choice!"

Sarah K.

“My sincere thanks to you and your staff for a very interesting and informative presentation you conducted for the seniors of Clark. Our members were very pleased with the information, and especially the exercises which many said they would use. We would certainly be glad to have you return again and look forward to another exciting presentation.”

Senior Citizens Club of Clark

"After my back surgery my doctor wanted me for physical therapy. He suggested Twin Boro Physical Therapy as one of the locations to go to. I checked out all the locations in the area and decided to go to Twin Boro. I stopped by on a Saturday but they were closed. Someone was at the desk doing paperwork and gave me all the information that i needed to fill out. She put the paperwork through and gave me a schedule to return on Monday for my first visit.The therapist ( Andrew ) examined me an put me through a series of work outs three times a week along with his daily exam. As each exercise became easier I was given something a little harder. They were slowly building up the strength in my lower back, core, legs and arms. After years of back pain I am now able to begin to get back to a normal life. I had a chance to work with other therapist there, they are all fantastic and there to help us return to a healthy life. The entire staff is was a pleasure to work with. They listen to what you have to say and and pay attention to what you said. I looked forward to going there, the staff was caring, kind and funny at times. I would highly recommend Twin Boro for physical therapy."

Victor S.

"I went from being almost totally debilitated by a pelvic fracture to being able to negotiate 6 flights of stairs. Therapy was intense, therapist are knowledgeable, helpful,encouraging and respectful. I highly recommend this facility."

Stephanie R.

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