All about knee osteoarthritis + how we can help (part one)

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic joint disease that causes pain, stops you doing certain activities and can cause you a lot of stress and distress. The symptoms can be pain, stiffness (especially after rest), swelling and tenderness. Often people find it harder to squat, kneel, walk up stairs, get up from a low chair and some have pain that stops them from sleeping.

Research shows that strengthening exercises improve pain and function. Surgery is not inevitable if we look after our knees by supervised exercise that progresses within limits.

Physiotherapists are the best heath and exercise professional to advise you about your knee exercises, where to start, how to adjust the exercises if your pain flares and how to progress your exercises safely to prevent further damage. We have studied the anatomy, the pathology (disease), the latest effective evidence based exercise regimes and we know how to treat the symptoms.

 

Physiotherapy can help in a number of ways:
  • We can conduct a thorough assessment of your knees and provide you with an accurate diagnosis as well as education to help explain why you are experiencing your pain and stiffness
  • We can mobilise (move) the joints of the knee. This can be for pain relief, to increase circulation to the area or to stretch tight structures.
  • We can teach specific strengthening exercises for the hips, knees, ankles and feet; especially the quadriceps and gluteals. This can improve joint alignment and correct muscle imbalances
  • We can strap the knee to improve movement, reduce pain and decrease swelling
  • We can use dry needling and western acupuncture to help release tight muscles around the area and relieve pain
  • We can use cupping to help release the ITB (iliotibial band) and other tight muscles
  • We can advise you on what activities that you can do that you enjoy (even if it is modified)
  • We can give you strategies to cope with the pain (like relaxation and distraction, local heat or ice).
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: SANDRA’S FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES, TO HELP KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS + OTHER KNEE CONDITIONS
Definitions:

Osteo = Bone Arthro = joint Itis = inflammation
Chronic = pain that persists for over 12 weeks
Femur = thigh bone
Hamstrings = Thigh muscle at the back that bends the knee
ITB (iliotibial band) = fascia at the side of the thigh that goes from the top of the thigh to below the knee.
Muscle imbalance = Often the inner (medial) thigh quadriceps weakens and the outer (lateral) quad pulls the knee cap towards it. This can happen for people who don’t exercise and for people who do a lot of fast exercises and no slow weight bearing exercise
Patella = knee cap
Quads (quadriceps muscle) = front thigh muscle that straightens the knee
Tibia = shin bone
Total Knee Replacement = a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability Parts the tibia and femur are replaced to create an artificial joint.
Knee Reconstruction = surgical procedure to replace the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This is not done for Knee OA.
VMO (vastus medialis obliquus) = the inner part of the quadriceps (front thigh muscle) that helps stabilise the knee cap

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