Arthritis & Joint Replacements

Arthritis Relief

We are your go-to clinic for arthritis in Winnipeg.  We help you:

  • Diagnose your joint pain.  Is it arthritis, or something else?  There are so many potential causes of joint pain. Our physiotherapists can diagnose osteoarthritis.  We also work with your doctor to diagnose other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, or ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Understand your arthritis.  Our physiotherapists are educators.  A big part of their role giving you the information you need about your arthritis, so you can make your own decisions about how to treat it.  We can answer your questions in person, and provide you with resources such as our free guide to arthritis - click here to read it now:

  • Manage your arthritis. Arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in your joints. It can stop you from doing what you love. Our physiotherapists and Registered Massage Therapists have a wide range of tools and techniques to reduce your pain, prevent your need for surgery, and get you back to your active lifestyle, drug-free.
  • Have a successful joint replacement. If you have severe arthritis and have decided to get joint replacement surgery, our physiotherapists help you:
    • prepare for a successful surgery ("pre-habilitation");
    • communicate with your doctor and surgeon, to make sure your physiotherapy program is customized to you; and
    • guide your rehabilitation after surgery, so you make the best use of your surgically-enhanced joint. 

Why Choose River East Physiotherapy for Arthritis Relief?

We offer arthritis treatment services to fit your unique condition, plus we have advanced training and a long history treating arthritis in Winnipeg. 

Our arthritis services include:

  • One-to-one sessions with a physiotherapist - for assessing your unique condition and providing custom treatment
  • Group classes for managing hip & knee osteoarthritis - that's the GLA:D program!
  • Group classes for hip & knee joint replacements - if you're scheduled for surgery, these classes are designed to prepare you for surgery and help you recover as quickly as possible.
  • Education on arthritis - one-on-one with your physiotherapist, or with our many online resources for patients. For example, get our FREE online Guide to Arthritis, here.
  • Registered Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis and Joint Replacement Rehab.
  • We communicate with your doctor or surgeon on your progress, to help ensure you reach your goals.
  • We bill the government for you if you are eligible for government funding for post-op hip & knee replacement surgery.  Click here to learn more about government funding.

Our Training

While all physiotherapists are able to treat arthritis, our physiotherapists have advanced training and a keen interest. Most recently, in January 2023 our team kick-started post-graduate training on how to apply new research from the University of Manitoba to get our patients back to function after hip & knee replacement. 

This new approach, called "Physical Literacy Enhanced Rehabilitation," has been shown to get patients back to function faster than traditional approaches and protocols for rehabilitation. Our team has since continued this training, with ongoing knowledge updates and training in December 2023 and April 2024.

In Canada, physiotherapists complete Master's Degrees in medical rehabilitation. This means a minimum of six years in University, including a residency being supervised by an experienced physiotherapist.  All this time, work and supervision ensures our knowledge and skills are strong. We're eligible to become fully registered as a physiotherapist with the College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba only when we've successfully completed this residency.

During university, physiotherapists also train to work as part of a healthcare team with other university-level, evidence-based health professionals, specifically:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Occupational Therapists

That means we're uniquely positioned to communicate with your healthcare team, to get you the medical care you deserve.

Physiotherapy training has a focus on bone, muscle, joint and nerve conditions. So treating joint conditions, such as arthritis, are physiotherapists' expertise when they graduate from university. Our team's post-graduate training takes us to the next level, to get you relief from arthritis and other joint conditions.

In addition to physiotherapy, we also have a team of Registered Massage Therapists trained to treat arthritis symptoms. Your physiotherapist may recommend a treatment plan that includes working with a Registered Massage Therapist.  Click here to read more about how our Registered Massage Therapists are trained to treat medical conditions, such as arthritis, and help you recover from joint replacements. Massage isn't just about relaxation.

Our History

River East Physiotherapy was founded in 1986, in North Kildonan, Winnipeg. We have experience treating arthritis for nearly four decades, and have had success treating arthritis symptoms with a wide range of tools and approaches.  This includes custom exercise programs, hands-on therapy, education, low level laser, acupuncturedry needling, and more.

Not sure if physiotherapy is right for your joint condition?  Call us to arrange a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with a physiotherapist. 

What To Do at Home For Your Arthritis:

Unable to make it to our clinic for hip and knee arthritis?  Wondering if there's anything you can do at home?  

At River East Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists develop custom home exercise programs for our clients.  Everyone is different, so we can never apply a one-size-fits-all approach.  For instance, people with arthritis have different:

  • Goals for physiotherapy,
  • Levels of fitness,
  • Medical histories,
  • Health conditions, and
  • Factors that motivate them. 

For the fastest results, you really do need a customized home exercise program developed with you, by a physiotherapist.

That said, if you can't make it to our clinic in person, we can also treat you remotely, by video call / virtual physiotherapy.  Often video calls are more effective than in-person visits when you need a custom home exercise program.  That's because you and your physiotherapist can use the space and equipment you actually have in your home, increasing the likelihood you'll do your exercises effectively.  Many people are also more comfortable exercising in their own, private space.  Virtual physiotherapy is excellent for that!

Here are some ideas on how to get relief on your own, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating arthritis:

  1. Get moving.  Osteoarthritis tends to feel worse for the first 30 minutes of the day (or less) after waking up.  And once you get moving, the pain tends to decrease.  Getting moving could mean going for a walk or getting on your stationary bike at home.
  2. Exercise with pain-free body parts.  Say, for instance, you're done moving your knee right now - you've done your post-op exercises for the day OR your knee is just too painful.  Perhaps you're waiting for joint replacement surgery because you've tried everything else.  You can still get the positive effects of exercise (mood boost, pain relief, increased strength, improved cognition... the list goes on) without aggravating your knee.  Try lifting weights with your arms, doing calf raises, or doing core conditioning, for instance.
  3. Try isometric exercise.  Sometimes, arthritis pain feels worse when you bend your joint.  Isometric exercises are those that make the muscles around the joint contract and strengthen, without actually bending the joint.  For example, an isometric exercise for knee osteoarthritis would be standing up, with a stretchy band tied between to your ankle and your other ankle, or to a solid object (e.g. a table).  You would then stand with your back to the table and flex your hip forward, keeping your knee straight.  Then repeat.  Example of an isometric knee exercise:
  4. Improve your balance. Joint injuries and conditions often impact our "proprioception", that is, our awareness of where our limbs are in space.  For example, sit down, close your eyes, and straighten your knee.  If your proprioception is good you'll have a very good estimate of how far your foot is off the floor.  If proprioceptive structures in your joints are affected by your arthritis, your proprioception may be off.  That means your balance can be off.  By practicing balancing (in a safe environment!) you actually can improve your balance, preventing any future injuries.
  5. Exercise with buddies. People are more likely to continue with exercise if they have someone to hold them accountable and make exercise fun.  One of the many reasons we offer group classes for hip and knee arthritis is because we know the cameraderie of classes makes our clients want to come back.  If you can't make it to our classes, find someone to exercise with. Hold each other accountable for doing your exercise programs. Find someone whose company you enjoy.

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