Seniors learn Osteoarthritis (OA) Basics

by Lucie Roy

The myth of arthritis; that it is a normal part of aging, old person’s disease, cracking your joints causes arthritis, smoking protects against OA and if it hurts don’t move it was one of the topics discussed at the Basics of Osteoarthritis Lunch and Learn Workshop held Mar. 13 at the MCCC.

The speaker for the event was Stephanie Karkutly, a licensed practical nurse with St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network.

Some of the symptoms of pain in the joint, tenderness, swelling and the feeling that joints may give out, fatigue and more also mentioned how everyone is different and the pain may range from mild to severe.

Some may experience difficulty with daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, stairs and standing.
The wear and tear arthritis and severe loss of cartilage in the knee joints can cause the knees to bow out or in joint deformities can take a toll on mobility.

Karkutly said risk factors that you can’t control is advanced age- although not a guarantee, gender and that females are 2.6 times more likely to get it and bone deformity such as being bow-legged.

Pain management is key and covered the treatment medications, such as OTC pain relievers, prescription pain medications, corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid.

Supports to ease mobility such as canes, crutches, finger splints or knee braces and for spinal OA a firmer mattress and back brace or collar was mentioned.

Surgery as an option for severe damage and severe pain and very limited motion followed with a talk on Arthroscopy versus Arthroplasty and information on stem cells, physiotherapy, ultrasound, TENS, acupuncture, massage and herbs and supplements.

Exercise therapy was discussed with three types of exercise, flexibility, strengthening and aerobic and with walking being the best exercise for knee arthritis.

The workshop was full with all attendees provided with handouts and an opportunity to ask questions.

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