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.
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)
Exercise 2: Kneel to stand (moderate)
Exercise 3: Hip 90/90 (advanced)
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