People with hip and knee joint problems routinely look to their GP for advice and direction to health services such as orthopaedics or physiotherapy. Joint problems are very common and Mr Ian McLean, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Forth Valley Royal, likens pain in your joints to “a wake up call from your aging alarm clock”. The good news is that its never too late to improve your condition. Making small lifestyle improvements such as regular low impact exercise and losing a little weight, if you need to, can make all the difference, banish pain and reduce the need for longer term procedures such as surgery.
A joint pain programme called ‘Best in Class’, which has been operating in Clackmannanshire over the past year has been helping people to help themselves. A physiotherapy joint pain advisor was introduced in GP practices, they see people with joint pain instead of GPs, offer arthritis education and promote the benefits that can be gained from attending the hip and knee classes which are now a routine part of the Active Clacks programme of community based exercise options. Anyone can attend these classes, no need to be referred! This approach has received enthusiastic feedback from people with lower limb difficulties, advance practice physiotherapists are now in more than half of GP practices in Forth Valley and the exercise classes are now set to be rolled out in Grangemouth and Stirling.