Osteoarthritis affects many, many people within the United States, and the main problem is pain and decreased physical activity. So what happens is, the individuals who have pain in their joints, all of a sudden they just stop moving. They stop doing things. Their function and participation in activities decreases, and that starts a huge cycle of a downward cycle where they become more sedentary. And what we need to emphasize is the importance of physical activity, exorcise, for these individuals who have osteoarthritis. And osteoarthritis may not be their first diagnosis. They may have multiple diagnoses, but have osteoarthritis, and that’s the one that tends to decrease their function the most.
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to meet with other individuals from other professions, occupational therapists, physicians, nursing, and as a team we can build something and try to work together in order to make osteoarthritis livable for individuals who have difficulty in their activities of daily living, help them in their functioning, help them in their mobility. And we can only do this if we work as a team. It can’t just be physical therapists or just occupational therapists or just the physician. It has to be an entire team.
Hopefully we’ll make a difference for individuals with OA. Hopefully we will get them to remain functional and continue, or get them to a point where they are going to be physically active throughout the rest of their lives so that they know how important that is in their disease process.