What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a long-term chronic disease characterised by the deterioration of cartilage in joints which results in bones rubbing together and creating stiffness, pain and impaired movement. The disease most commonly affects the joints in the knees, hands, feet and spine and is relatively common in shoulder and hip joints. While related to ageing, OA is also associated with obesity, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, occupational/sports injury and gender. Research indicates that significant numbers of people with OA are living with other chronic conditions.

Osteoarthritis is one of the ten most disabling diseases in developed countries and affects 18% of women and 10% of men over 60 years.

The prevalence of OA is increasing due to population ageing and an increase in related factors such as obesity. According to the CSO, by 2051 one-third (1.8 million) of the Irish population will be aged 60 years and over; up from one-fifth (866,000) in 2016. This represents a significant societal and personal challenge.

While frequently described as a ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, this is an over-simplification of the underlying pathology. It also frames OA as an inevitable feature of life and of ageing, over which people have little control. 

This awareness campaign, therefore, looks to change the conversation around osteoarthritis in Ireland, by encouraging people living with the condition to take a proactive approach to the management of their OA.

Living with osteoarthritis with Dr Barry Sheane

Dr Barry Sheane, consultant rheumatologist at the Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin, discusses living with osteoarthritis and answers key questions about the condition. Amongst the issues discussed are causes of osteoarthritis, symptoms, how OA is diagnosed and treated. Dr Sheane also looks at pain management in osteoarthritis, the role of physical activity and diet, managing if you’re living with other conditions and the role of surgery.


Healthy eating and osteoarthritis with Richelle Flanagan

Richelle Flanagan, registered consultant dietitian and clinical nutritionist, looks at the issue of healthy eating and osteoarthritis. Richelle discusses the relationship between healthy eating and exercise, including healthy ways to achieve weight loss. She also talks about diets that are beneficial for people with OA, including the Mediterranean diet, and the role of supplements. Richelle has run her consultancy, Be Nutrition Wise, for the past 15 years and is past-president of Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI).


Physical activity, exercise and osteoarthritis with Andy Dunne

Andy Dunne, clinical exercise specialist, looks at the benefits of physical activity and exercise for people with osteoarthritis. He offers advice on how to get started with physical activity and how to stay motivated. He also discusses balancing pain and exercise. Andy Dunne is a chartered physiotherapist and owner of Personal Health, a lifestyle healthcare company in Dublin.

This video includes three short demonstrations of physical activity exercises:

Exercise 1: Sit to stand (basic)

  • High tempo on ‘stand up’ phase
  • Think ‘nose over toes’
  • Slow tempo (approx 4 seconds) on sit down phase
  • Also think ‘nose over toes’

Exercise 2: Kneel to stand (moderate)

  • Lean forward facing chair seat and maintain hand contact with chair
  • Split stance and ‘genuflect’ by bending the hind knee slowly towards the floor
  • Breathe and remain calm in kneeling position
  • Raise one leg out to side and elevate through a mixture of arms and leg usage

 Exercise 3: Hip 90/90 (advanced)

  • Once safely seated on floor, use your hands for support
  • Rotate from side to side targeting rotation of the hips on each side
  • Each hip and knee will have a 90-degree bend in the most desired outcome, but no problem doing a modified version of this also


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