Do: Take Medications As Prescribed
Over-the-counter or prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are among the mainstays of knee osteoarthritis treatment, Pisetsky says. While effective, they do come with their share of side effects, he explains. We typically tell patients to take them as needed for pain but emphasize that theyre not used to slow disease progression, he says.
Other treatments are also available to help relieve knee pain, stiffness, and swelling, including analgesics such as acetaminophen and injections of corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid into the joints. While corticosteroid injections are commonly performed, their long-term effects are still under investigation. Using heat and cold therapy can also help relieve symptoms try moist heat for joint stiffness and ice for joint pain and swelling, says Wyss. Just be sure to work with your doctor to develop the best treatment strategy for you.
Expected Range Of Motion
After knee replacement surgery, it is important to work with a physical therapist to restore as much range of motion as possible. Typically, the range of motion will progress quickly during the first three months. It can continue to increase for up to two years following surgery.
Normal motion after knee replacement is defined as the ability to get within 5 degrees of a straight knee and the ability to bend the knee back to 90 degrees. Most knee replacements have movement ranging from zero degrees to 110 degrees or more.
The range of motion of the replaced knee can be improved with a combination of stretches, exercises, and gradual resumption of normal activities. Some surgeons will recommend the use of a machine to bend the knee, called a CPM .
Top 10 Ways To Get Rid Of Morning Stiffness
There is no need to lose heart, as the causes of morning stiffness can be rectified or avoided so that you can lead a relatively pain free and easy life. Following the below mentioned tips along with making minor lifestyle changes helps greatly in getting rid of the dreaded morning stiffness.
Here are some top 10 easy methods which you can do to get rid of morning stiffness and make a difference in your life.
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After Knee Replacement Surgery
This might come as a surprise to you, but a negative attitude or negative mood after knee replacement surgery is associated with prolonged stiffness! This is because people with a negative attitude are less likely to adhere to a physical therapy protocol after knee replacement surgery. We are all humans, and we can experience negative emotions when we are in pain or anxious about our recovery, but it is important to remember that you should not let these emotions overwhelm you! Trusting your physical therapist and adhering to physical therapy is very important, and you should know that it will bring many positive outcomes, such as easing your stiffness. You should not force yourself into thinking that everything is okay but thinking that everything will be okay eventually with hard work actually helps your recovery.
Two Stretches Can Help Knees Bend With Less Stiffness And Pain
Your knee needs to bend to do many daily activities, including walking and sitting down. However, tightness in the leg muscles can cause the knee to feel stiff or painful. Even tightness in the hip flexors or glutes can lead to these symptoms in your knee. Physical therapists can show you many therapeutic exercises that can help reduce stiffness and pain in your knee and allow you to bend it more easily. Here are two of the exercises commonly used to treat knee stiffness and pain:
1. Figure four stretch
There is a long piece of connective tissue called the iliotibial band that runs from the buttock and hip and crosses the outside of your knee. The IT band is attached to muscles like the gluteus maximus and tensor fasciae latae in the butt and hip, respectively, and tightness in these muscles can pull on the IT band. In turn, increased IT band tension can cause stiffness and pain when bending the knee. The figure four stretch is an exercise that can help reduce tension in muscles the IT band is connected to, which can help your knee symptoms.
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Increased Sensitivity To Pain
Sleeping poorly is notorious during menopause and research has proved that sleep deprivation increases our sensitivity to pain: a study from the University of California found that sleep deprivation can change the circuitry in the brain in ways that amplify pain.3
Low magnesium can also impact your pain perception,4 as well as causing sleeping problems. Poor levels of this essential nutrient are very common during menopause due to stress and digestive weakness.
Magnesium is also needed to keep your muscles relaxed, so low levels can cause them to tense up and become tight and stiff, which can impact the muscles that the control movement of the joints.
Dont: Be Afraid To Use Assistive Devices If You Have Knee Osteoarthritis
Canes and knee braces can play a role in decreasing knee osteoarthritis pain and improving function, Pisetsky says. There can be a period of time when knee pain is disabling but its not the right time for surgery, so thats when assistive devices can make a difference, he explains. An occupational therapist can work with you to choose appropriate assistive devices.
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A Warm Or Cold Compress
Heat or cold treatment may provide immediate, short-term pain relief from knee arthritis.
Heat therapy may reduce pain and improve circulation in and around the knee joint. Applying a warm compress to the knee can also relieve muscle and joint stiffness and help warm up the knee before activity.
Heating can be achieved by using hot water bottles, heated packs/ wraps, hot towels, and electric heating pads.
Cold therapy reduces inflammation, pain, and swelling. It also decreases nerve conduction, potentially slowing down pain signals to the brain. A cold compress may be applied to an arthritic joint periodically and/or after physical activity.
A cold wrap, gel pack, a bag of ice, or a bag of frozen vegetables may be used as a cold compress.
Important precautions: To avoid skin and/or nerve damage, do not to use cold and/or heat therapy for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. In addition, compresses should not be used in combination with topical medications, as there is a risk of injuring the skin and/or altering the medications effectiveness. Special caution should be exercised in the setting of diabetes or other conditions that may cause decreased skin sensitivity.
When To Call Your Doctor
If your pain and swelling are gettingworse and you can no longer put weight on your knee, see your doctor. A simpleX-ray can show if there is osteoarthritis and, if needed, an MRI scan can checkfor meniscal tears or loose chips of cartilage.
Arthroscopic surgery can sometimes remove loose cartilage. Partial or total knee replacements are other surgical options, especially for those who can no longer stay as active as theyd like. Sometimes computer assistance is used for some complicated knee replacements.
Surgery is a last resort, though,says Dr. Nickodem. Its something to consider when nonoperative treatmentsarent helping.
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Improper Positioning Of The Implants
Surgeons make an effort to balance the knee at the time of surgery. This means finding the proper size and alignment of the knee replacement so that the knee joint is not too tight and not too loose. The goal is to make this balancing the same whether the knee is straight or bent.
This is precisely why a knee replacement is a difficult procedure. In fact, the art of perfecting this takes many years. Errors in the positioning of an implant may not be apparent on the operating table. They may only become noticeable when the patient is slow to recover from surgery.
Ligament Or Tendon Injury
Ligaments and tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissue. Ligaments connect bones to other bones, whereas tendons connect muscles to bones.
Injuries to the ligaments or tendons of the knee most often occur during sports or other physical activities.
Ligament or tendon injuries can cause the following symptoms:
- pain when fully straightening or bending the knee
- a feeling that the knee is unstable or about to give way
Treatments for ligament or tendon injuries depend on the extent of the damage. A doctor may recommend:
- wearing a knee brace to help stabilize and protect the knee joint
- trying muscle-strengthening exercises
- doing gentle stretches
Some ligament and tendon injuries require surgical intervention by an orthopedic surgeon to restore stability to the knee joint.
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Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems
You might find that osteoarthritis of the knee makes you feel depressed or anxious. Speak to your doctor if youre feeling low as they may be able to recommend psychological therapies to help you, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and stress-relieving techniques.
If your sleep is disturbed because of osteoarthritis of the knee, this could make your pain feel worse. However, there are things you can do for yourself that might help, such as:
- Keep a sleep diary to work out if there are any patterns to your sleep problems
- Sleep at regular times to get your body into a routine
- Avoid phones and other screens in the bedroom to help you wind down before bed.
Dont: Engage In Repetitive High
Joint-pounding exercises such as running and tennis can tax your already damaged knees, Dr. Pisetsky says. Its a vicious cycle because this type of exercise causes more pain. You stop using your muscle because it hurts, you lose strength, and then your alignment isnt good either, he says. This can also result in needing joint replacement surgery. Listen to your body, he says. If it is painful, dont do it.
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Home Treatments To Decrease Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Many home or over-the-counter remedies can effectively treat knee arthritis pain, making day-to-day living easier and more comfortable. Some home therapies are one-time treatments that provide fast, short-term relief. Other remedies involve changing daily habits.
Home treatments for arthritis pain relief include:
Leg Track Triggering Muscular Tissue Pain As Well As Swelling Behind The Knee
A condition called tennis leg can also create discomfort in the back of the leg behind the knee.
Tennis leg is related to damage to the gastrocnemius where damage to the muscle and soleus muscle in the calf bone triggers an accumulation of fluid.
According to the journal Instance Radiology Reports, leg tennis is typically the outcome of sporting activities injuries. Damage to the calf bone muscle mass can trigger swelling and discomfort in the back knee.
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How To Ease The Pain Now
When your knee starts aching, experts suggest the following steps:
Apply ice or heat. Both can reduce pain ice can also cut swelling, and heat can ease stiffness. For icing, place a towel or cloth on your skin, then top with a small bag of ice at least once a day for 20 minutes, recommends physical therapist Erica Fritz, P.T., D.P.T., manager of the Orthopedic Physical Therapy Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
If your knee feels stiff but isnt swollen, apply a heating pad to the area for 20 minutes twice a day. Place a protective layer, such as a towel, between the heat source and your skin.
Get some low-impact activity. You may not feel much like being active when your knees hurt, but the evidence suggests that it can help. A 2015 review by the independent Cochrane Collaboration found that the short-term pain relief conferred by exercise is comparable to that achieved with use of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug .
Walking and cycling are good choices. But if land-based exercise is too painful, try an aquatic workout.The buoyancy of water is gentle on joints and may make it easier to work out. Aquatic exercise also provides a small but measurable decrease in pain and disability in people with knee and/or hip OA, according to another Cochrane review, published in 2016.
Ask about physical therapy. If pain and swelling make it very challenging to be active or youre unsure which exercises are best for you, see a physical therapist.
Why Your Knee Feels Tight When Bending
A common complaint about the knees is tightness and stiffness. Injury, mechanical difficulties, or physical pressures on your knees, such as extra weight, can all create tightness in your knee. In addition, a lack of strength or flexibility may be partly responsible when your knee feels tight when bending.
If youve had a knee injury or have a medical condition like gout, arthritis, or an infection, youre more prone to have knee tightness. Physical therapy is a crucial part of the recovery process for any musculoskeletal injury or discomfort. At SPORT Orthopedics + Rehabilitation, our physical therapists and determine the best course to treat knee stiffness, which may include surgery or therapeutic exercises. A qualified sports medicine doctor Dallas will ensure that you receive the treatment you need to get back in the game.
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Common Causes Of Knee Stiffness Following Total Knee Replacement
1.) Connective Tissue Restrictions The knee joint is surrounded by connective tissue often referred to the joint capsule. Depending on how tightly the joint capsule is sutured together may influence the initial range of motion.
Other reasons the connective tissue may restrict motion is due to the intrajoint effusion.
2.) Scar Tissue Formation Stiffness due to scar tissue formation may also be called arthrofibrosis Stiff Knee Syndrome.
While it may be true that scar tissue starts to form as soon as the incision is closed, research suggests range of motion may be improved up to 12 weeks after surgery.
3.) Reflexive Guarding A major cause of stiffness may be attributed to pain. Imagine you were sitting my the camp fire and a friend tried to push your hand into the fire. You would naturally resist that force and tighten all of your muscles.
After knee surgery the knee has sustained significant trauma to the bones, muscles, skin and connective tissue. Forcing a knee to bend will trigger a reflexive tightening in the musculature that prevent knee motion.
Exercises To Reduce Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic conditions for which people seek medical treatment. It includes pain felt behind and around the knee cap, especially during activities like stair climbing, squatting, running, and walking while carrying a heavy load. Knee pain can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities and performing daily tasks. Without proper treatment, it can linger for years.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which include knee stiffness, incorrect positioning of the knee cap at rest or with movement, flat feet, improper exercise form, and weakness of the muscles that control the hip and knee.
A physical therapist can work with you to address your knee pain. After an evaluation, a physical therapist will design an individualized comprehensive treatment program to address the specific factors causing your knee pain. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation.
To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
These exercises are proven by research to reduce pain and improve your ability to participate in the activities you love.
Consult your health care provider before starting these exercises to determine if they are right for you. If you experience any symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness at any time, you should stop immediately. These exercises are provided for educational information only.
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Possible Cause #: Gout
Unlike some other possible causes of joint stiffness, gout comes on suddenly. It may appear while youre asleep, which may make the joints especially painful when you wake up.
Severe, sudden episodes of pain and tenderness in joints characterize gout. Gout can impact any joint. The big toe is frequently the first joint to experience symptoms.
Gout is a type of arthritis. It affects men more often than women, but a womans risk for developing gout increases after menopause. Most people will deal with periods of gout symptoms for the rest of their life, but symptoms are treatable.