What Should You Know About Joint Health?

There are a great deal of myths around joint health and joint pain. We look at the truth behind joint health and osteoarthritis.

joint health knee osteoarthritis infographic

Myths about joint health

Some myths you might find about joint health include:

  • The degree of arthritis on a scan predicts your pain and disability levels.
  • Rest is helpful.
  • Only surgery will fix it.
  • Exercise is dangerous.
  • Pain equals damage.

Facts about joint health

In reality, most of these myths are misguided or incorrect. The facts are that:

  • Scans are poorly related to pain and disability.
  • Rest and avoidance makes pain worse.
  • 20% of people do not get any pain relief from joint replacement.
  • Graded exercise is safe and helps.
  • Pain does not equal damage.

What are factors related to joint health?

Some factors that might lead to negative joint health include:

  • Osteoarthritis and bone edema
  • Stress/isolation, depression, anxiety and fatigue
  • Obesity
  • Lifestyle: lack of sleep and lack of physical activity
  • Genetics injury
  • Unaccustomed load: recreation, occupation and sport
  • Muscle weakness and protective guarding
  • Negative beliefs, catastrophising, lowered confidence, pain-related fear and coping

What is low value care (passive treatments)?

Low value care include treatments such as:

  • Massage, needles, rollers and tens
  • Ultrasound, laser, interferential, opioids
  • Imaging, arthroscopy, injections
  • Relying on common supplements
  • Joint replacement for inappropriate candidates
  • Low dose poorly-targeted exercise

What is high value care (active treatments)?

High value care treatments should include:

  • Evidence-based education
  • Exercise (movement control, fitness, weight bearing/strength)
  • Referral when indicated
  • Lifestyle change (physical activity, weight loss)

*Joint replacement for appropriate candidates, after high-value non-surgical approaches have been trialled.