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Knee Arthritis

What is Knee Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes degeneration of the joint surfaces leading to pain and loss of function. Osteoarthritis involves the loss of articular cartilage (hard protective covering on the ends of bones) and damage to the boney surfaces of the joint. Osteoarthritis can be very painful and is considered a progressive disease. In most cases medical management can help slow the progression of osteoarthritis and many studies have shown that appropriate management including specific exercises can increase function and decrease pain.

How long will it last?

The joint degeneration associated with arthritis is permanent. However much of the pain and loss of function associated can be reduced with specific and targeted exercise programs. Activity modification and biomechanic correction can also significantly slow joint degeneration. If left untreated knee osteoarthritis will continue to progress causing pain and loss of function, and in many cases lead to an early knee joint replacement.

Symptoms

The signs & symptoms of knee arthritis are:

  • Loss of range of motion at the knee joint such as difficulty squatting, kneeling or climbing in or out of a car.
  • Loss of strength of the muscles around the knee joint.
  • Pain in or around the knee with or following activity or when weight bearing (often swelling post activity).
  • Stiffness at the knee joint, often worse in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Walking with a limp.
  • Crepitis (sounds) when moving the knee.

Suggestions for managing Knee Arthritis

  • Remaining active with activity modification strategies are extremely important when suffering from knee arthritis. Often much of the pain and loss of function can be decreased by completing a targeted strength and range of motion exercise program.
  • Use it or lose it – if you don’t use your muscles they will become weak and dysfunctional and only contribute to higher levels of pain and loss of function. Consult your Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist for your specific muscle strengthening program.
  • Motion is lotion: the more you move a stiff osteoarthritic joint the easier it becomes to move and the less painful it is to move. Also by frequently moving your knee joint you can prevent any further loss of range. Consult your Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist for your specific stretching and range of motion program.
  • A painful arthritic knee does not respond well to excessively loading. Activities such as Hydrotherapy or Pilates, which reduce the load being passed through your knee but still allow strength and range training, can do wonders for a painful arthritic knee.
  • Walking with a limp is not advised and you must consult a professional immediately.

Professional treatment options

Contact us now for immediate advice regarding arthritis of the knee.

Click here for some Knee Arthritis exercise tips designed by Physiotherapists at The Sports Injury Clinic