understanding-joint-disorders---july-2023 understanding-joint-disorders---july-2023

Understanding Joint Disorders in Seniors: Causes and Types

Guest Post from HealthMax Physiotherapy Clinics

Disorders of joints can cause pain and discomfort, limiting seniors' mobility and impacting their overall quality of life. While joint disorders can have different causes, they often result from excessive use or stress on the joint, hereditary conditions, or aging. At our physiotherapy clinic, joint disorders are one of the most common issues we see among seniors. Here are are some of the different types of joint disorders, their causes, and the importance of receiving an accurate diagnosis.

Bursitis: A Common Challenge for Senior

Bursitis is an inflammation of the synovial bursa, which can be caused by excessive stress or tension placed on the bursa. Seniors commonly experience bursitis due to factors such as repetitive motions or prolonged pressure on joints. For instance, seniors who engage in activities like gardening or knitting for extended periods may develop bursitis in their elbows or shoulders. If left untreated, chronic bursitis can lead to muscle degeneration and stiffness, further limiting mobility.

Arthritis: A Widespread Senior Condition

Arthritis is a disorder that affects the entire joint, including cartilage, bone, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood supply. It is estimated that around 10 percent of the senior population experiences arthritis, which unfortunately has no cure. Seniors with arthritis often deal with chronic pain, but it's important to note that pain relief medications only alleviate symptoms and do not provide a permanent solution.

Rheumatic Fever and Arthritis: An Alarming Connection

Rheumatic fever, if left untreated in childhood, can develop into rheumatoid arthritis later in life. This type of arthritis results in severe inflammation of small joints and can cause damage to the joints of the hands and feet. While the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown, it may involve genetic factors or autoimmune reactions.

Primary Fibrositis: A Joint Inflammation Challenge for Seniors

Primary fibrositis, commonly known as rheumatism or lumbago, is an inflammation of the fibrous connective tissue in a joint. Seniors may experience this condition, leading to discomfort and restricted movement.

Osteoarthritis: A Joint Disorder in Aging Seniors

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a common joint disorder that occurs with advancing age, especially among seniors in their seventies. It primarily affects weight-bearing joints and is more prevalent in overweight individuals. However, engaging in mild exercise can help prevent joint deterioration and enhance the ability to maintain movement.

Gout: A Troublesome Joint Condition for Seniors

Gout is another joint disorder that affects seniors, characterized by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint, particularly in the base of the large toe and other joints in the feet and legs. It is more common in men and can also cause kidney damage.


Joint disorders can affect seniors, and certain individuals may be more prone to them due to genetic or lifestyle factors. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper weight management, can help prevent joint disorders in seniors. If you are a senior experiencing joint pain or discomfort, consulting your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial. Early detection and appropriate treatment can alleviate pain and prevent further damage to the joints, ultimately leading to improved overall health and mobility.

Utilizing physiotherapy to enhance joint health is an effective approach to treating acute and chronic joint disorders among seniors. Physiotherapists provide essential support, helping seniors regain strength, range of motion in affected joints, and consequently, an improved quality of life. Their customized treatment plans often include exercises, stretches, and therapeutic techniques like ultrasound or electrical stimulation. Furthermore, physiotherapists provide education on proper body mechanics and lifestyle modifications, valuable insights that can aid in preventing future joint problems.

While medical attention and correct diagnosis are crucial, actively managing joint health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of joint disorders. By collaborating with healthcare professionals, your loved one can ensure their well-being and maintain their mobility for years to come.

How can Right at Home Help?

Personalized Exercise Support: Your Right at Home Caregivers, in conjunction with a physiotherapist, can help with the daily exercises in a personalized exercise program designed to help manage pain, improve flexibility and strength, and maintain joint function. They can assist with the exercises at home, ensuring they are performed correctly and safely.

Medication Management: Joint Disorders often requires medication for pain management and reducing inflammation. Right at Home can help manage medication schedules, ensuring doses are taken on time and as prescribed, which can be especially helpful if there are multiple medications to manage.

Assistance with Daily Living Activities: Joint disorders like Arthritis can make everyday tasks such as dressing, cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene challenging. Your Caregiver can assist with these activities, reducing strain on the joints and helping to prevent fatigue.

Meal Planning and Preparation: A balanced, nutritious diet is important for overall health and can help manage arthritis symptoms. Right at Home can assist with meal planning and preparation, ensuring meals are healthy, balanced, and cater to any dietary restrictions.

Emotional Support and Companionship: Living with chronic pain from joint disorders can lead to feelings of isolation or depression. Right at Home Caregivers offer companionship, a listening ear, and emotional support which can significantly improve quality of life.

Transportation and Assistance with Medical Appointments: Joint disorders can make traveling challenging. Right at home can provide transportation to and from medical appointments, ensuring continuity of care.

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Why Right at Home?

  • Over 20 years of experience. Right at Home has been providing award winning customized senior care and home care for over 20 years.
  • YOUR Caregivers are all part of YOUR Care Team. This means that there is no revolving door of Personal Support Workers and Nurses. With the help of your Care Planner, you choose and get to know them. This leads to an level of care for your loved one that is unsurpassed in our industry.
  • Working with government support. Your Care Planner will work to help you find the government supports you are eligible for (if you would like them) and then work to find a solution for the care needs that go above what government and family can do. We will also work around the government care plan so that we are enhancing it.

We help in home, wherever home is to you.

Our Caregivers are always out in the community visiting homes, Retirement Residences, Long Term Care (LTC), hospices and hospitals.

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