Occupational therapy

Occupational Therapists are concerned with how the symptoms of osteoarthritis can affect your ability to carry out your day to day activities.
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Occupational therapy at a glance

  • Bracing: Occupational therapists may use a brace to support and provide stability or to reduce the strain on the joint.
  • Joint protection: Occupational therapists can advise you how to modify or adapt your activities to reduce the pain your experience in your joint.
  • Equipment: Some occupational therapists can provide you with equipment, or refer you to Cornwall Council for equipment to help you to manage your day to day activities, that may be more difficult as a result of your symptoms. For example, grab rails or mobility aids.

Who needs occupational therapy

If you find that your symptoms impact on your ability to manage your day to day activities for example, walking, leisure activities/hobbies or struggling to manage your personal care/domestic activities, you may benefit from speaking to an occupational therapist. The main goals of occupational therapy are to:

  • Maintain or improve function and independence.
  • Increase or maintain participation in activities.
  • Preserve the joint and delay or prevent surgical intervention.
  • Promote self-management of symptoms through education.

What happens during an appointment?

The occupational therapist will ask you how your symptoms affect your ability to carry out activities and agree an action plan with you. If appropriate, you will be fitted with a brace to support your knee during activity. You may need to be measured for this and attend for a further appointment to fit it when it arrives in stock. Your occupational therapist will teach you how to fit and remove your brace and advise you when it should be worn.

Your occupational therapist will discuss your day to day activities with you and identify any equipment or adaptations that might be helpful. You may be referred to another service such as social services for further assistance with this if required.

Your occupational therapist will also discuss any self-management strategies such as pacing your activities or using ice to reduce the pain in your knee.

Benefits of occupational therapy

Following your appointment with an occupational therapist, you should feel more knowledgeable about your condition and how to manage your symptoms. Many people find that wearing a knee brace encourages them to be more active as their knee feels supported and pain is reduced. Being active has many additional health benefits.

Wearing a brace for activity has the potential to reduce the need for surgical intervention. Enabling equipment can help to reduce the strain on your joints when getting in and out of the bath for example or rising from low surfaces such as the toilet. Often, addressing these areas results in your symptoms reducing as the knee is under less strain.

How long will you spend in hospital

Your occupational therapist will see you at an outpatient appointment. Depending on your condition, you may also need to attend a follow up.