Hip and Knee Pain on One Side: How to Effectively Manage It

Written by Chris Bradley

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Home/Ankle & Foot, Elbow, Hip, Knee, Wrist & Hand/Everything You Need To Know About Treating Arthritis

Arthritis is a prevalent health condition that affects millions worldwide. It’s not just a challenge for the elderly; people of all ages can experience the discomfort and limitations it brings. 

If you’re struggling with arthritis or know someone who is, this blog aims to shed light on the various aspects of this condition and the treatments available. So, continue reading to find out how to treat arthritis via physiotherapy and more.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is characterised by pain and inflammation in the joints. Although it’s more prevalent in individuals over 30, it can affect people of all ages. 

The two most frequently diagnosed types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

While osteoarthritis involves the gradual wear and tear of joint cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis is more complex. We will explain more about these types of arthritis later in this blog.

What Are Common Symptoms Of Arthritis?

Arthritis manifests in various ways, with symptoms that can significantly impact daily life. These include the following.

Stiffness And Tenderness

Joints may feel stiff, especially after periods of inactivity or in the mornings.

Joint Pain

Pain in the joints is often the most noticeable symptom, varying in intensity.

Joint Inflammation

Swelling in the joints is common, contributing to discomfort.

Limited Movement 

Arthritis can restrict the range of motion in affected joints.

Redness And Warmth 

The areas around the joints might appear redder and feel warmer due to inflammation.

Weak Muscles

Surrounding muscles may weaken, adding to the difficulty in movement.

What Causes Arthritis?

Arthritis in knee

Arthritis doesn’t have a single cause; various factors can influence it. Interestingly, this disease affects women more often than men. 

Genetics can play a role in causing arthritis and age-related changes in the body. Other contributing factors include the following.

Weight

Excess body weight can increase the stress on joints, especially the knees, hips, and spine.

Injury And Infections

Previous joint injuries and certain infections can trigger the development of arthritis.

Occupational Hazards 

Jobs that require repetitive joint movements can lead to gradual wear and tear.

Smoking 

Smoking reduces oxygen levels and triggers inflammation in the body. It can damage tissues and joints, potentially leading to the development of arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

As the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis primarily affects the hands, spine, knees, and hips. It’s characterised by the breakdown of cartilage, the cushioning material at the end of bones. This degeneration leads to the narrowing of the space between the joints and (in some cases) can even cause bone overgrowth, leading to further pain and mobility issues.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a more systemic condition compared to osteoarthritis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joint linings. This can lead to inflammation in the joints and other tissues and organs, including significant organs like the heart and lungs.

How Can Arthritis Be Treated?

Arthritis physiotherapy

While there’s no definitive cure for the disease, treating arthritis with various methods can significantly slow its progression and alleviate symptoms. Understanding and utilising these treatments effectively can make a substantial difference in managing arthritis.

Medication

Medications play a crucial role in managing arthritis. They can:

  • Reduce Inflammation: Certain drugs specifically target joint inflammation, reducing swelling and discomfort.
  • Provide Short-Term Pain Relief: Painkillers can offer immediate relief, making daily activities more manageable.
  • Slow Disease Progression: Medications aimed at treating Rheumatoid Arthritis can effectively slow down the disease’s progression, helping to preserve joint function.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy offers a holistic approach to arthritis management, involving:

  • Structured Exercise Plans: Tailored exercises help maintain joint mobility and muscle strength.
  • Massage: This can increase blood flow and warmth to the muscles, aiding in pain relief.
  • Pain Relief Advice: Physiotherapists can recommend suitable pain relief methods and medications.
  • Improved Mobility And Strength: Regular sessions can enhance overall joint function.
  • Confidence Building: Guidance and support from a physiotherapist can encourage patients to resume normal activities.

Surgery

In severe cases, surgery might be necessary and the only solution for some. Surgery can involve:

  • Joint Repair: Surgery can realign or stabilise joints, reducing pain and improving function.
  • Joint Replacement: Damaged joints, especially hips or knees, can be replaced with artificial ones.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture offers a complementary approach to arthritis treatment with multiple benefits, which are as follows:

  • Pain Relief: By inserting needles at specific points, acupuncture can stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, offering relief from joint discomfort.
  • Reduction In Inflammation: Acupuncture may also help reduce inflammation around the joints, further alleviating pain and improving mobility in arthritis patients.

Living With Arthritis

Arthritis

Living with arthritis involves more than just medical treatments; lifestyle changes play a significant role, such as:

  • Weight Management: Losing weight can lessen the strain on joints, particularly the knees, hips, and spine.
  • Improved Posture: Adopting a better posture reduces unnecessary joint stress.

Let’s look at other lifestyle changes an individual can incorporate to manage arthritis better.

Exercise

Maintaining a regular exercise routine is crucial for treating arthritis symptoms. 

  • Enhancing Muscle Strength: Participating in activities that build muscle strength at least twice weekly is essential for supporting and stabilising joints. Stronger muscles can significantly reduce the burden on your joints, potentially easing arthritis symptoms.
  • Targeting All Muscle Groups: Engaging in exercises that work out all the major muscle groups is essential, ensuring a balanced development of muscle strength around the joints. Proportional muscle strength helps evenly distribute the stress on joints, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Swimming For Joint Health: Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for those with arthritis, as it strengthens muscles without putting additional pressure on the joints. The buoyancy of water supports the body, allowing for a full range of motion with minimal stress.

Mobility Equipment

Various aids can assist daily living:

  • Walking Aids: Canes or walkers provide additional support.
  • Splints: Help in joint alignment and pain relief.
  • Adaptive Tools: Bottle and jar openers, grabbers, and other aids can make everyday tasks easier.

To conclude, effectively managing arthritis often requires a multifaceted approach. This includes a combination of treatments like medication and surgery, lifestyle modifications such as exercise and weight management, and supportive therapies like physiotherapy and acupuncture. 

Living with arthritis can be challenging, but with the right combination of treatments and strategies, you can maintain an active, fulfilling life. 

Don’t hesitate to book your appointment online with one of our physiotherapists for professional guidance and support. Take the first step towards better managing your arthritis today.