Our body is made up of hundreds of joints, approximately 360 joints to be exact, all of which allow us to move around and complete our daily activities. Thus, whenever there is a complication or dysfunction to a joint it can be detrimental for our ability to complete normal work tasks or limit our ability to do things, we enjoy such as playing sports or going to the gym. Joint dysfunctions can present in different ways with the most obvious being pain presentation to a specific area. Although, pain isn’t the only tell-tale sign that something isn’t working correctly. We may also notice a reduction in range of motion and a feeling of “hitting a block” when trying to move through our normal ranges of motion. The term joint dysfunction is an umbrella term for issues attaining to a particular joint/s, so in this post we will look at the most common joint presentations that come into the clinic.
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint-related condition that will present to our clinic. Osteoarthritis, more commonly known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), can affect any of 360 joints in our body. For DJD to occur, the hyaline cartilage that provides a smooth surfaced for our joints to glide across becomes thin and breaks away leading to pain around the joint, reduction in range of motion, and swelling around the affected joint. It eventually gets to a point where it purely bone rubbing against bone which leads to significant joint pain and damage. One thing I will say is that if you have found out that you have DJD it DOES NOT mean that it is the cause of your pain. If you have an x-ray and there a finding of DJD just know that it can be an insignificant finding so don’t let it scare you. So who is prone to osteoarthritic changes? à Older population, females, Overweight individuals, previous history of joint damage, and people with muscle weakness
Treatment for OA:
- Paracetamol for temporary symptom relief
- Aerobic exercise/aerobic rehab plans
- Manual therapy may include joint mobilisation to increase range of motion as well as soft tissue therapy
Gout is not a fun condition to have, and I don’t envy any that has suffered gout. Gout occurs when deposits of monosodium urate crystals appear in the joints causing an extremely painful inflammatory reaction at the affected joint. There are several risk factors that can increase the risk of gout such as being a male over 40 years old, obesity, purine-rich diet, alcohol, and genetics. Also, patients who have a history of chronic health concerns such as chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are also more prone to experiencing gout. Patients will generally present with red, inflamed, and swollen joints which have been affected. The most common location for gout to attack is in the big toe of either foot.
Treatment for gout:
- Ice therapy
- Maintenance of joint ROM/strength
- Pharmacological management through a GP