Osteoarthritis and Exercise

Original Editor - Nupur Smit Shah

Top Contributors - Nupur Smit Shah and Lucinda hampton  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Exercise group

Exercise therapy has positive benefits for people with symptomatic Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a common form of arthritis and it leads to a major health economic burden. It commonly occurs in weight bearing (WB) joints (for example hips and knees), and NWB joints (for example the hands). In osteoarthritis patients present with pain and stiffness in affected joint.[1] [2]

  1. Muscle strengthening and programs containing combinations of strength, flexibility, and aerobic exercises, are more helpful for pain and disability than general activity (e.g., walking).
  2. Exercise therapy brings other benefits, beyond pain and physical function, with moderate effects on depression.
  3. Programs including exercise therapy and education about exercise are recommended to decrease fear of activity and improve patient engagement in exercise programs.[3]See Patient Education in Pain Management

Obesity, Exercise and OA[edit | edit source]

Obesity: risk factor for OA

Obesity is one of the most significant risk factors for osteoarthritis symptoms and disease progression, especially for the knee involvement.[4]

  1. Exercise is beneficial for the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. Excessive adipose tissue, as occurs in obesity, increases mechanical stresses on weight-bearing joints and additionally generates an imbalance in the secretory profile of adipokines, including leptin, adiponectin, visfatin, and resistin. These conditions create an environment of low-grade inflammation lead eventually to cartilage breakdown.
  2. Clinical trials have shown that exercise programs (consisting of aerobic walking, strength training, a second aerobic phase, then a cool-down period) in combination with diet, led to significant reduction in weight, total fat mass, pain relief, and improvements in mobility.[5]

NB Knee OA: Obesity also causes thinner medial tibial cartilage compared to normal BMI individuals.[6]

Physiotherapy[edit | edit source]

Therapeutic exercises(type/ dose) are decided by the physical therapist based on the need of the patient and are dependant on age, weight, basic fitness level, severity of the disease and comorbidities.

  • Low contact sports are effective to manage OA, it prevents maximum joint stress and improves muscle strength and joint stability. High contact sports are avoided.
  • Mind and body exercises such as Tai Chi and yoga are also prescribed.[7]
  • Gait aids can be recommended.
  • Cryotherapy can be used as an adjunct along with land based exercises.[8]
  • Education on weight management has to be provided.
  • In electrotherapy, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is applied.[9]

Optimal exercise prescription will lead to exercise adherence reduce the risk of symptom flare up and maximize the outcome. See Adherence to Home Exercise Programs

Aquatic Exercises[edit | edit source]

Hydrotherapy

The exercises which are performed in water are known as aquatic exercises or hydrotherapy. It has various advantages in comparison to land based exercises. Blood circulation is improved by constant water temperature and hydrostatic pressure, it reduces the tension of soft tissue contracture. It even helps in reducing muscle spasm and fatigue. Muscle strengthening is promoted as water resistance acts in opposite direction of the body motion, which needs greater muscle activity. The buoyancy reduces the weight bearing which helps in reducing the degradation of the joints. It also give a soothing environment for osteoarthritis patients who are reluctant towards exercise.[10]

OA Hand[edit | edit source]

Hand OA

Osteoarthritis of hand is a common musculoskeletal disease. Its prevalence is rising rapidly with increasing age. It is usually occurs in 1st carpometacarpal joint. [11]The clinical features are hand pain, stiffness, reduced grip strength and compromised functional status. The primary goal of a physiotherapist will be to manage pain and improve the functional status by working on strength of the muscles.[12]Hand orthosis are strongly prescribed.[11]

European League Against Rheumatism Recommendations for Hand OA

  • Education and training in ergonomic principles ,pacing of activity and use of assistive devices should be offered to every patient.
  • Exercises to improve the function and strength and to reduce pain should be considered by the therapist.
  • Orthoses should be prescribed in thumb base OA for symptom relief.
  • Long term follow up of patients with hand OA should be as per the patient's requirement. [13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Katz JN, Arant KR, Loeser RF. Diagnosis and treatment of hip and knee osteoarthritis: a review. Jama. 2021 Feb 9;325(6):568-78.
  2. Funck‐Brentano T, Nethander M, Movérare‐Skrtic S, Richette P, Ohlsson C. Causal factors for knee, hip, and hand osteoarthritis: a Mendelian randomization study in the UK biobank. Arthritis & rheumatology. 2019 Oct;71(10):1634-41.
  3. Villafañe JH. Exercise and osteoarthritis: an update. Journal of exercise rehabilitation. 2018 Aug;14(4):538. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165969/(accessed 21.9.2022)
  4. Lim YZ, Wong J, Hussain M, Estee MM, Zolio L, Page MJ, Harrison CL, Wluka AE, Wang Y, Cicuttini FM. Recommendations for weight management in osteoarthritis: A systematic review of clinical practice guidelines. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Open. 2022 Aug 5:100298.Available:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2665913122000668 (accessed 21.9.2022)
  5. Leong DJ, Sun HB. Osteoarthritis–why exercise?. Journal of exercise, sports & orthopedics. 2014;1(1).Available:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350574/ (accessed 21.9.2022)
  6. Chen L, Zheng JJ, Li G, Yuan J, Ebert JR, Li H, Papadimitriou J, Wang Q, Wood D, Jones CW, Zheng M. Pathogenesis and clinical management of obesity-related knee osteoarthritis: impact of mechanical loading. Journal of orthopaedic translation. 2020 Sep 1;24:66-75.
  7. Bannuru RR, Osani MC, Vaysbrot EE, Arden NK, Bennell K, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Kraus VB, Lohmander LS, Abbott JH, Bhandari M, Blanco FJ. OARSI guidelines for the non-surgical management of knee, hip, and polyarticular osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and cartilage. 2019 Nov 1;27(11):1578-89.
  8. Dantas LO, Jorge AE, da Silva Serrao PR, Aburquerque-Sendin F, de Fatima Salvini T. Cryotherapy associated with tailored land-based exercises for knee osteoarthritis: a protocol for a double-blind sham-controlled randomised trial. BMJ open. 2020 Jun 1;10(6):e035610.
  9. Bannuru RR, Osani MC, Vaysbrot EE, Arden NK, Bennell K, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Kraus VB, Lohmander LS, Abbott JH, Bhandari M, Blanco FJ. OARSI guidelines for the non-surgical management of knee, hip, and polyarticular osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and cartilage. 2019 Nov 1;27(11):1578-89.
  10. Dong R, Wu Y, Xu S, Zhang L, Ying J, Jin H, Wang P, Xiao L, Tong P. Is aquatic exercise more effective than land-based exercise for knee osteoarthritis?. Medicine. 2018 Dec;97(52).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Kolasinski SL, Neogi T, Hochberg MC, Oatis C, Guyatt G, Block J, Callahan L, Copenhaver C, Dodge C, Felson D, Gellar K. 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation guideline for the management of osteoarthritis of the hand, hip, and knee. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2020 Feb;72(2):220-33.
  12. Kloppenburg M, Kroon FP, Blanco FJ, Doherty M, Dziedzic KS, Greibrokk E, Haugen IK, Herrero-Beaumont G, Jonsson H, Kjeken I, Maheu E. 2018 update of the EULAR recommendations for the management of hand osteoarthritis. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2019 Jan 1;78(1):16-24.
  13. Kloppenburg M, Kroon FP, Blanco FJ, Doherty M, Dziedzic KS, Greibrokk E, Haugen IK, Herrero-Beaumont G, Jonsson H, Kjeken I, Maheu E. 2018 update of the EULAR recommendations for the management of hand osteoarthritis. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2019 Jan 1;78(1):16-24.