Non Surgical Management of Osteoarthritis

There are a number of options than can be trialled in the non-surgical management of osteoarthritis. These may prove useful in providing symptomatic relief for patients with arthritis.

Treatment needs to be tailored to the individual, and should be discussed with your general practitioner, especially if it involves new medications.

Education / Information Services

  • Arthritis Australia
    A registered charity providing support and information to people with arthritis as well as their families and friends.
  • Arthritis Foundation of NSW
    A non-government health charity that seeks to improve the quality of life of those affected by arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Weight loss

  • Dietitian advice and / or supervised program
Exercise program

  • Pool classes (hydrotherapy), Gym classes, Walking
Modification of lifestyle

  • Minimise aggravating activities eg use cart for golf
Muscle strengthening

  • Physiotherapy, with instructions for ongoing home program
Medications

  • Paracetamol: can take up to 1g four times a day
  • Glucosamine sulphate and/or Chondroitin Sulphate: Should be trialled for about 2 months, and continue if effective
  • NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories): If response to simple analgesics is inadequate. Prescribed by family doctor or specialist
  • Creams / Gels: Topical forms of anti-inflammatory medication are available from your chemist, and may provide some symptomatic relief
Footwear

  • Use supportive footwear, and try cushioned insoles (chemist, brace shops). In some cases seeing a podiatrist for orthotics or shoewear modification is appropriate, after discussion with your doctor
Walking aids

  • For example, a walking stick (chemist or medical supply store)
Brace / Neoprene sleeve or Bandage

  • These can be supplied by a chemist or physiotherapist, after the appropriate recommendation from your doctor

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