Osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration of the cartilage that lines the surfaces of our joints, or by the formation of bony outgrowths known as osteophytes.
This causes pain, stiffness and occasionally loss of movement of the affected joint(s). The most common of these are weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees and spine. Exercise is very important in managing osteoarthritis, firstly because there is no cure as such, and secondly because lack of mobility can cause the surrounding muscles to deteriorate. Keeping active and partaking in regular exercise strengthens these muscles, which in turn provides efficient support for the affected joints. Swimming is especially good since it is an opportunity to exercise without putting more strain on those arthritic joints.