Joint pain

September 2010

FocusJoint pain

Osteoarthritis

Management options in general practice

Volume 39, No.9, September 2010 Pages 622-625

Osteoarthritis – management options in general practiceSuzanne McKenzie MBS, MMedSci, GCULT, FRACGP, is Head of Discipline, General Practice and Rural Medicine, School of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland.

Amanda Torkington MBS, BSc, is an academic general practice registrar and PHCRED RDP Fellow, School of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland.

Background

Osteoarthritis, characterised by joint pain and stiffness, is a common and significant chronic disease, reducing mobility and causing considerable impact on quality of life. Multiple evidence based management options are available.

Objective

The aim of this article is to summarise the main management options suggested in The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Guideline for the nonsurgical management of hip and knee osteoarthritis and to also highlight those that are not recommended.

Discussion

Following diagnosis based primarily on history and examination, management focuses on optimising quality of life by providing self management advice combined with appropriate pharmacological and nonpharmacological strategies, aiming to reduce acute exacerbations, prevent complications and delay progression.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a significant chronic disease and a common presentation in general practice. Over 50% of people over the age of 65 years have radiological evidence of disease and approximately 10% of men and 18% of women have symptomatic OA.1 Joint pain and reduced mobility cause considerable impact on quality of life. With no current cure for this condition, general practitioners are left with a range of management options aimed at optimising quality of life and self management, preventing acute episodes, delaying complications and preventing progression of the condition.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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