Arthritis rehabilitation provides relief for people suffering from pain and restricted motion due to the loss of cartilage in their joints. Arthritis is one of the most common disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system. Twin Boro Physical Therapy has an established reputation for providing advanced, evidence-based care that meets the needs of each individual patient. For arthritis sufferers, Twin Boro Physical Therapy has the experience and expertise necessary to address the various forms of the disease and the variety of symptoms that can occur. Twin Boro Physical Therapy is dedicated to providing patients with the best arthritis treatment and functional outcome.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the wearing, degeneration or loss of articular cartilage in a joint. At each joint the ends of the bones have a smooth, shiny surface called joint articular cartilage, which allows them to slide freely over each other. The three most common types of joint arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis. Arthritis can be caused by age related wear and tear, predisposition due to genetics and family history, repetitive strain injuries, ligament or connective tissue damage, or excessive use of steroids.
Arthritis typically causes symptoms including pain and aching in the affected joint, and the loss of range of motion. Common symptoms of arthritis include:
- Pain and aching in the affected joint
- Loss of range of motion
- Swelling around the joint
- Increased size or visible deformity of the joint
- Weakness that makes daily activities difficult
- A sensation of cracking or crunching in the affected joint
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
There is no cure for arthritis, but arthritis rehabilitation and physical therapy treatment from the skilled experts at Twin Boro can help reduce and control the symptoms so that sufferers can live active, pain free, lives. Physical therapy is a medical specialty that uses exercises, manipulations, and specific equipment to help patients regain or improve mobility and function.
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.
During arthritis rehabilitation, 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 arthritis 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 affected joint.
- 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. 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 the affected muscles 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, walking, kneeling, squatting and stair climbing) of the involved extremity to reduce stress on the joint surfaces in daily activities. Gait and balance training may be indicated in those individuals who have problems with walking.
- Modalities including the use of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice, cold, laser and others to decrease pain and inflammation of the involved joint.