Exercise is a core treatment in managing osteoarthritis, according to updated NICE guidance on the condition.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with around 1 million people seeing their GP about it every year. It accounts for 115,000 hospital admissions in the UK each year. The condition can affect people's ability to undertake daily activities, and is one of the leading causes of pain and disability worldwide.
In an update to the original 2008 guidance, NICE recommends that healthcare professionals offer advice on activity and exercise to all people with clinical osteoarthritis, as well as interventions to lose weight for those who are overweight or obese.
The guidance also includes new recommendations on diagnosing the condition, advice on joint surgery, and on follow-up and review.
Professor Mark Baker, Centre for Clinical Practice Director at NICE, said: “There's a common but mistaken belief that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of ageing and that it will get worse, but that's not the case. This updated guidance provides evidence-based recommendations on the most effective ways of diagnosing and managing osteoarthritis, to help improve the lives of people affected by it.
"The guidance highlights that the core treatment for osteoarthritis remains exercise - this not only helps relieve pain for some people but also improves function. For people with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese, offering advice on ways to lose weight as part of helping them self-manage their condition, is another amended original recommendation.”