I see many patients suffering with osteoarthritis (OA) throughout different joints in the body and recently many more clients requiring physiotherapy for Knee OA. OA is the most common form of joint disease, and the knee is one of the most commonly affected joints. There are some excellent resources to give you advice and recommendations on all aspects of OA from cause, complications, management and treatment. The arthritis research website is a great place to start and their free downloadable booklets give clear and simple explanations on this. I won’t repeat all the information they display on there as I’m sure they will explain it better than I can, however, there are some questions I do often get asked that I will try and help shed some light on.
- advice and support to increase physical activity and exercise, including pacing strategies, that gives information about local services such as physiotherapy, or exercise classes, groups and facilities
- advice and support for people who are overweight or obese to lose weight, which may include referral to local resources such as weight-loss and exercise programmes
- referral to local services such as occupational therapy, orthotics and podiatry that can provide advice on suitable footwear, orthotic devices (such as insoles and braces) and assistive devices (such as walking sticks and tap turners)
- pain management advice
Are there any supplements I can take or dietary changes I can make?
- Base your meals on a starchy food – starchy food should make up 1/3 of what we eat, they are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients on our diet. Also a good source of fibre. Where possible, try to choose wholegrain varieties of foods, these include wholegrain bread, pasta and breakfast cereals.
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – Try to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, you can choose from fresh, frozen, tinned or dried but remember potatoes count as starch not veg.
- Eat plenty of oily fish – aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including one oily portion, again you can choose fresh, frozen or canned but remember that tinned and smoky fish may be high in salt. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines, pilchards and eel.
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar – having too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the chances of developing heart disease.
- Eat less salt (<6g/day) – eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure and increase both the risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 3 times!
- Get active – Physical activity is good way of using extra calories and helps to control weight, this doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. Try and get exercise every day and try to build this up.
- Drink plenty of water – we should be drinking 1.2 litres of water or other fluids every day (increased during hot weather).
- Don’t skip breakfast – research shows that eating breakfast can actually help people to control their weight.