Living with Osteoarthritis

Reading time: 3 min

The main recommendations for preventing the development of the disease are, to have a healthy and balanced diet, carry out moderate physical exercise, and avoid obesity.

Scale with a correct weight

Avoiding obesity. The correct body weight helps to prevent the development of the disease. If there is overweight, the health professionals can help you to decrease it through a suitable diet.

Woman swimming

Exercise. Gentle physical exercise, like walking on flat surfaces, swimming and cycling, help in preventing and improving the joint arthrosis.

It is not advised to carry out high impact exercise, since it could worsen the state of the joint and could increase the symptoms of the osteoarthritis.

When there is a lot of pain, it is recommended to have a period of relative rest.

Lying person receiving a massage

Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy can help to improve the functioning of the affected joint and reduce the pain caused by this disease, by using a physical exercise program adapted and specific for each person and for every type of osteoarthritis, of the hands, elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles.

The use of electrotherapy devices (such as, for example, ultrasound, analgesic currents, magnetotherapy, etc.) help to decrease the inflammation and pain.

Heat and cold as pain treatment

Heat and cold. Heat or cold, whichever gives better relief, should be used for no more than 20-30 minutes a day.

Heat is generally more beneficial in osteoarthritis applied in the form of a bath or with an electric blanket. It is normal to have more pain in the morning, due to the inactivity of the night, and for this reason, a hot bath in the morning is a good way to unstiffen the affected joints.

Cold is good for reducing inflammation and toning up the area. It is useful to apply local cold using bags of ice or cold baths.

The thermal waters of spas also alleviate the pain and allow performing exercises while floating without putting weight on the joints.

Correct pills

Medication. You should not self-medicate. You should take the analgesics, anti-inflammatories, gels and creams, local injections, and drugs that the doctor prescribes on an individual basis to each patient. 

Living with a joint replacement

People who have an implant, whether in the hip, the knee, ankle, elbow, or shoulder can lead a normal life.

Furthermore, many patients recover activities that they were unable to do before, and the majority of them resume their sport or recreation activities. However, not all sports are recommended, particularly those that may result in suffering knocks and falls. You must consult with the doctor on which are the exercises and/or sport recommended in each case.

A patient that has an implant will have regular clinical and radiological monitoring to check the adequate functioning of the replacement.

Substantiated information by:

Ana Isabel Monegal Brancos
Anna Martín Cortés
Felipe Julio Ramirez Garcia
Jenaro A. Fernández-Valencia Laborde
Nuria Sapena Fortea
Rosa Marina Fernandez

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 12 December 2023

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


Receive the latest updates related to this content.

Thank you for subscribing!

If this is the first time you subscribe you will receive a confirmation email, check your inbox

An error occurred and we were unable to send your data, please try again later.