The benefits of exercise with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disorder in which the immune system starts to attack body tissues, with most damage occurring to the joint lining and cartilage, eventually resulting in erosion of two opposing bones. Rheumatoid arthritis affects joints in the fingers, wrists, knees and elbows. The initial trigger for RA is unknown however there is evidence to suggest abnormalities in components of the immune system that lead to the body developing abnormal immune and inflammatory reactions, particularly in joints. For this reason, the condition is often referred to as an autoimmune disease.

The objectives of lifestyle intervention include preservation and enhancement of function and quality of life, minimization of pain and inflammation, and joint protection.

• exercise and physical activity – may include aerobic activities, flexibility and muscle-strengthening exercises, core stability, balance rehabilitation, and promotion of lifestyle physical activity

• dietary modification - may include advice and guidance from a qualified nutritionist/dietician on foods that help to reduce pain and inflammation

• physical therapy - may include manual therapy, thermotherapy, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, and client education

• occupational therapy – may include advice on how to perform activities of daily living with less pain

• podiatry – may help to reduce foot- and leg-related pain, and improve foot function and mobility.