Physical Therapy For Knee Osteoarthritis
Strengthening Exercises and Other Osteoarthritis Treatments
Physical therapy can be your first line of defense for managing knee OA symptoms.
Having knee osteoarthritis can sometimes seem like a double-edge sword. Overusing your knees can worsen your joint health and knee OA, but the less you move your knees, the weaker they can get. You need to find that balance of keeping your knee joints moving just enough so they’re strong and healthy, and physical therapy helps you do that.
With knee OA, the muscles surrounding the knee can become weak, and the knee joints can become stiff. This makes it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as walking or getting out of bed.
Physical therapy can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of knee osteoarthritis, and it can help improve knee joint function. It can also make it easier for you to walk, bend, kneel, squat, and sit. In fact, a 2000 study found that a combination of manual physical therapy and supervised exercise has functional benefits for patients with knee osteoarthritis and may delay or prevent the need for surgery.1
Common Passive Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis
Common Active Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis
Both strengthening and flexibility exercises are important to do because they can help take strain off the knee. Learn more about exercise for knee osteoarthritis in our article about exercising to manage knee osteoarthritis.
Dont: Ignore New Or Worsening Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms
Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, which means that pain is always possible, Pisetsky says. However, if pain grows more severe and occurs at rest instead of after periods of activity, or if it awakens you from sleep, it could mean that your knee osteoarthritis is progressing, he says. Other symptoms such as swelling, a locked knee, or one that just gives way are concerning, too. Let your doctor know about new or worsening symptoms, as an adjustment to your treatment plan may be necessary.
Articles On Knee Osteoarthritis
While age is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee, young people can get it, too. For some individuals, it may be hereditary. For others, osteoarthritis of the knee can result from injury or infection or even from being overweight. Here are answers to your questions about knee osteoarthritis, including how it’s treated and what you can do at home to ease the pain.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis And Walking
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis , a systemic form of the disease in which symptoms wax and wane intermittently, should also be mindful of when they walk. If you are experiencing a flare-up, it is important to allow your joints to rest and recover. Because of this, starting a walking program during a flare-up is not recommended. Once the inflammation and soreness have subsided, however, it is usually safe to start exercising.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and the knee is one of the most commonly affected joints.
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.
The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.
Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.
Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.
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Exercises For Knee Oa Pain
Learn more about exercises that help with knee pain, promote knee function and reduce injury.
1. 6 Exercises for Knee OA Pain
2. Listen to Your Body
3. Mini Squat
4. Quad Stretch
5. Standing Back Leg Slide
6. Knee Strengthener Move 1
7. Knee Strengthener Move 2
8. Hamstring Stretch
9. Take Pressure Off Your Knees
What About Glucosamine And Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are components of healthy cartilage. Both are produced naturally in the body. They are also available in supplement form.
Researchers have long studied the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements on arthritis. Many studies have found mixed resultssome have shown pain relief and function improvements compared to a placebo, while others showed no benefit from using these supplements.
Because of the lack of confirmatory evidence on the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, the 2019 ACR/Arthritis guidelines recommend that people with knee OA not use these supplements.
There has been little or no research on the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in people with knee arthritis related to RA.
Most supplements are generally safe to use. Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to start a supplement with your current knee arthritis treatment plan.
While supplements have few severe side effects attached to them, it is still possible to experience these. Supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, can make other treatments less effective, and affect other health conditions you may have.
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Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.
The Most Important Piece Of The Puzzle
If youre overweight or obese, the most effective treatment is weight loss. This isnt surprising. Every extra pound of weight adds two to four pounds of excess pressure on your knees.
Losing weight is probably the most difficult part of the treatment puzzle, but its also the most important, says Dr. Day.
A weight loss program should include both diet and exercise. Some people have difficulty exercising to lose weight because their knees hurt. But any type of exercise can help, even strengthening the upper body.
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How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 58,611 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though there’s no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because it’s a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
Is It Better To Use Heat Or Ice On A Knee With Arthritis
Both heating and cooling can relieve certain types of knee pain from arthritis, but for different reasons. Warming a joint can help to relieve stiffness in the muscles, while cold can help to reduce inflammation and swelling related to arthritis. Warming up your knees can help to get you moving first thing in the morning, while a cold treatment might help provide relief after exercise or a long walk.
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Stem Cells From Donors
Another potential source of stem cells, which can be used in therapies, is allogeneic MSCs. They are harvested from donated human umbilical cord tissue after normal, healthy births where the mother has been tested for infectious diseases and has a screened medical history. These harvested MSCs are then screened to International Blood Bank Standards .
Umbilical cord tissue provides an abundant supply of mesenchymal stem cells avoiding the requirement to harvest stem cells by invasive procedures such as liposuction or bone marrow aspiration. There is evidence showing that mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cords are more robust than those from other sources such as fat.
Basically both treatment protocols, both for the MSCs from the patient and from a donor, were identical. Any differences in the MSCs and in some characteristics of the cells arose due to those from the patient themselves, from fat or bone marrow, being older than MSCs from umbilical cord and may therefore lack potential for proliferation and/or differentiation.
What You Need To Know
- Knee arthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage in the joint wears down, making the knee stiff and painful with certain movements.
- Osteoarthritis gradual, age-related degeneration of cartilage is the most common form of arthritis in the knee, but trauma and autoimmune conditions can also lead to cartilage damage.
- The cartilage damage associated with arthritis is irreversible, but there are nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can help reduce pain, increase joint flexibility and improve overall quality of life for people with knee arthritis.
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But You Can Try Chair Yoga
According to a recent research carried out at the Florida Atlantic University shows that chair yoga is effective alternative treatment for osteoarthritis.
See a yoga instructor to find out the best kind of yoga for your knee.
Almost everyone can benefit from yoga, even people with tender, swollen joints.
How Does Physiotherapy For Knee Arthritis Work
After examining your knee, the physiotherapist will work with you to make a treatment plan that fits your exact problem and your needs. The goals can include reducing your pain and swelling, and increasing your flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.
Your therapist may use:
- Manual therapy. Manual therapy includes massage and manipulation.
- Ultrasound. This uses sound waves to treat muscle spasms and pain.
- Electrical stimulation. This uses a mild electrical current to treat pain.
He or she may also use heat and cold and may teach you how to use these techniques.
Physiotherapy almost always includes exercise. It can include stretching, doing core exercises, building strength, and walking. You may learn exercises that help in surprising waysstrong core and hip muscles can help control knee pain and make you more able to be active. Your therapist will also teach you exercises that you can do at home.
Your therapist may consider whether some type of knee brace may help you.
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While Oa And Inflammatory Arthritis Do Share Some Symptoms Namely Pain Tenderness And Swelling The Similarities Tend To End There
If you have persistent knee joint pain, arthritis in your knees could be the culprit. While many forms of arthritis exist, its usually fairly easy for your doctor to first determine which of the two main categories osteoarthritis or inflammatory/autoimmune arthritis you might have.
Those include whats known as mechanical knee arthritis or inflammatory/autoimmune knee arthritis, which includes a number of illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis , psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
While OA and inflammatory arthritis do share some symptoms namely pain, tenderness, and swelling the similarities tend to end there, as youll see below. The answers to the following questions can often help determine if your knee pain is osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis.
Heat And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold can be effective for managing knee pain. Heat can relax the muscles to improve pain and function and promote joint lubrication, which can reduce stiffness. You can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad. For cold therapy, an ice pack, wrapped in a towel, can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Some people can get the most out of knee pain relief when they alternate heat and cold therapy. You can experiment with both to figure out what best works for you to manage your knee pain, swelling, and stiffness.
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Mesenchymal Stem Cells Or Mscs
Your bone marrow makes these types of cells. They can grow into new tissues, including cartilage. By gathering these cells and injecting them into the knee joint, the hope is that they will give rise to new cartilage and reduce inflammation.
Itâs a hot area, with clinical trials going on. But most studies are still early.
A review published in 2016 in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders concluded that MSC-based therapies offer an âexciting possibilityâ for treatment, but further studies need to work out how they can best be used and how well they work. Also, they’re expensive.
Stem Cells From Patients
MSCs and platelet-rich plasma are harvested from the patient to be treated thus ensuring that the patients immune system will not reject the cells. These cells are already specific for the patients body but they have to be processed before intra-articular injection in the knee joint. This process includes separation of the MSCs by centrifugation and other purification steps. With the aim in mind of increasing cartilage build-up, chondrogenic activity of the harvested cells has to be evaluated, as well as glycosaminoglycan and type II collagen deposition, before reinjection. The MSCs are tested in vitro for their ability to undergo chondrogenic differentiation under the previous described conditions. Glycosaminoglycan and type II collagen are components of the matrix of cartilage which induces and supports the differentiation of MSCs into chondrocytes. During this procedure it is important that the joint is stressed as little as possible because the newly differentiated cartilage is highly susceptible to damage.
In addition to the intra-articular injection of MSCs, Nöth et al also highlighted the use of MSCs as progenitor cells to engineer cartilage implants that can be used to repair chondral and osteochondral lesions, or as trophic producers of bioactive factors to initiate endogenous regenerative activities in the OA joint.
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Why Its Important To Choose The Best Shoes For Arthritis
Making healthy choices for your feet, much like eating a nutritious diet or getting regular exercise, can add up to big improvements in quality of life, says Marian Hannan, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of musculoskeletal research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging in Boston. People should start thinking of their shoes as a factor they can modify to help minimize pain and maximize their ability to get out and do things.
The wrong shoe worn by someone with arthritis in their hips, knees, ankles or feet can exacerbate existing problems and, down the road, cause damage and complications to many joints beyond the feet, she adds.
The right shoes for arthritis can reduce or eliminate foot pain, which has a huge impact on the bodys function and mobility, says Hannan.
Kirsten Borrink agrees. After years of struggling with foot pain from rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, diagnosed in her 20s, the former teacher started a website and blog, Barking Dog Shoes, which showcases frank reviews of a variety of shoe styles that Kirsten has personally tried. It includes video demonstrations of the author in action.
To help keep you on your feet comfortably, we teamed up with medical experts who weigh in on the pleasing and painful points of 10 different types of shoes, and with Kirsten, who recommends her top picks in each category. Heres to healthier feet!
How To Practice Deep Lunging
For people with knee osteoarthritis, lunging poses the same benefits and risks as deep squatting.
Lunges are a great way to improve your overall leg and hip strength, but they may cause unnecessary pain when practiced incorrectly.
The trick, Bell says, is to make sure your knee doesnt extend past your ankle.
You may also find it helpful to practice lunges while holding on to the back of a chair or table for added support.
To do a basic lunge:
During your practice, its important that you take note of any changes in pain or discomfort. If you begin experiencing more pain than usual, you should stop lunging for the day and move on to another form of exercise.
Running can increase your overall wellness and help control weight. This can reduce the amount of stress on your knees and lessen the overall effect of osteoarthritis.
However, some caveats do apply:
No one with arthritis should start running, she says flatly.
To minimize symptoms:
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