Moving without pain is one of the great joys of the healthy human body—and one that people typically take for granted, until it’s gone. People don’t think about what it takes for their body to participate in fun or even ordinary activities. Once something makes those same movements painful, however, that’s all you can think about. Arthritis is one of the most common culprits of uncomfortable mobility issues. Fortunately, targeted physical therapy can help you maintain range of motion and joint function.
Joint Erosion: The Effects of Arthritis
Arthritis is a general condition that actually encompasses many more specific inflammatory diseases that attack your joints. It could be a chronic side effect of an injury, or signs of an autoimmune disease. One of the most common kinds is from wear and tear eroding the soft tissues that protect the moving parts in your joints, allowing your bones to grind against each other. Whatever the cause, the inflammation and damage to your joint tissues makes movement increasingly painful.
How Physical Therapy for Arthritis Helps
Because arthritis makes normal movement so uncomfortable, many people slow down and try to move as little as possible. Unfortunately, this is not what’s best for your body. It’s counterintuitive, but less movement actually makes your joints stiffen faster. Physical therapy is a treatment process that uses the science of movement and your body’s structure to combat this stiffening and help you regain and maintain mobility. Through careful stretching, strengthening, and other modalities, you alleviate the stiffness and pain in your joints.
This is especially important for your lower limbs. Your hips, knees, ankles, and feet are responsible for your ability to move around your home, participate in activities, and get from place to place. Moving as little as possible not only allows your arthritis to worsen, it impairs your ability to live life and get things done. Physical therapy steps in to help you take care of your lower limbs and stay as mobile as possible.
What to Expect from Your Physical Therapy
At Martin Physical Therapy, part of the Martin Foot and Ankle clinics, we specialize in assessment and physical treatment for the lower limbs, including for arthritis. We’ll evaluate your movement and what hurts your joints. From there we can work with you to rehabilitate your lower limbs and find methods that improve your mobility and pain management. Because no two people are exactly alike, your therapies will be specifically tailored to fit your needs and your arthritis challenges.
Most commonly, people need some kinds of strengthening, flexibility, and range-of-motion exercises. Our team will teach you gentle exercises that stretch out your joints and their supporting tissues. This helps you fight stiffness that limits how far you can move your limbs. Strengthening exercises work the muscles that support the joints to reduce some of the pressure on them, relieving stress and some pain. Exercise also encourages circulation to your lower limbs, which brings the healing agents and nutrients they need. You’ll then continue performing your therapy activities at home. We might also recommend a few other modalities, like activity modification and rest, heat or ice, and occasionally medication.
Physical therapy for arthritis is an easy, low-risk way to manage your pain and mobility with stiff joints. You don’t have to give up your life and activities. Let Dr. Bradley Boyer at Martin Foot and Ankle help you take care of painful problems in your lower limbs. Call our York, Hanover, and Lancaster, PA, offices at (717) 757-3537 to make an appointment. You can also use our online request form.