Specialists on Hand - Monday, July 28, 2014

Many people assume that arthritis is a natural part of aging, however the reality is that arthritis can affect anyone of any age, including children!

Did you know that arthritis is a common term used to describe over 100 different musculoskeletal conditions and that only a handful of these conditions can be tested for? This means that arthritis is very common and can sometimes go undiagnosed for a long period of time. It is also very diverse and can impact on people in very different ways. Understanding the condition and how it affects you is the most important piece of the puzzle. Knowledge is power and prevention of further damage is the key.

Some of the more common symptoms associated with arthritis include pain, stiffness and inflammation. As the condition develops it can lead to weakness, instability and deformities that can inhibit your ability to do activities of daily living such as walking, preparing food, driving or brushing your teeth.

The earlier you learn how to manage your arthritis symptoms, the better equipped you will be to prevent further deterioration. A large part of managing arthritis involves education and examination on how you use your body, what difficulties you are having and where modifications can be made to improve overall function.

The key ingredients to successfully managing arthritis:

  1. Principles of joint protection
    • Take notice of any pain you feel – it is your personal warning signal
    • Spread the load over several joints, for example by using two hands instead of one 
    • Use larger, stronger joints
    • Reduce the effort by using assistive equipment when possible, for example jar openers
    • Avoid gripping things too tightly or for long periods of time
    • Avoid actions that push your joints into awkward positions 
    • Use your joints in stable positions. 
         - At home with arthritis: Simple steps for managing in the home Download the pdf here.
    • Independent living centre - Assistive Equipment service. Based in Nedlands, they provide FREE expert advice on a large range of assistive equipment and resources to people with disabilities (including arthritis)


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