A pilot project called ‘Best in Class’, which has been operating in Clackmannanshire over the past year, is now set to be rolled out across the Forth Valley area. It involves discussing with patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis, what sort of treatment they would like to try to help avoid or delay surgery along with a tailored exercise programme to help reduce pain.
Hip and knee information sessions, led by a physiotherapist, take place at a number GP practices and local health centres where emphasis is placed on a daily exercise regime to improve the muscles linked to the knee, hip and pelvic area. Patients can also attend special exercise classes specifically for lower limb problems which take place at a range of community venues throughout the area. Health professionals report that even if a joint does eventually have to be replaced, exercising prior to surgery supports a quicker recovery.
Patients described the exercise programme as invaluable and life changing. One woman who eventually needed surgery said attending classes helped her recovery enormously as just a day after surgery she was able to move around with two walking sticks.