Do You Struggle With Knee Osteoarthritis?
Have your knees started clicking and popping, become painful, swollen or tender, and are stiff first thing in the morning? Quite likely you are suffering osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis caused by degeneration or uneven ‘wear and tear’ of joint cartilage, the tough, slippery tissue that protects the ends of bones. If the cartilage totally wears away it leads to ‘bone on bone’ which is a painful rub of the femur against the tibia or patella. Treatment for osteoarthritis focuses on reducing pain and stiffness, stopping any further progression of degeneration, and maintaining and improving knee mobility and function.
Osteoarthritis is not simply a ‘wear and tear’ process. Osteoarthritis occurs when the dynamic steady state between destructive forces and repair mechanisms destabilises the joint, and there are a number of factors that contribute to this degenerative process. Biomechanically the knee joint bears higher shear forces than the hip or ankle joint as it incorporates sliding, rotating and rolling motions during movement. Where there has been trauma, a muscular imbalance of the thigh or ligamentous laxity, a shift in the biomechanics of the knee can occur. This leads to the distribution of external forces upon the knee being absorbed intolerably, and eventually uneven wear and tear.
Exercise & treatment:
Exercise is one of the most important treatments for people with osteoarthritis, whatever your age or level of fitness. Lack of exercise and knee osteoarthritis can produce a downward spiral of increasing disability. One study of overweight older adults who had knee osteoarthritis found that for every pound of weight they lost, the stress on their knees was reduced fourfold. Your physical activity should include a combination of exercises to strengthen your muscles and exercises to improve your general fitness. Studies on specific muscle training in humans, such as strengthening of the quadriceps and the hip abductors muscles showed a significant decrease of cartilage loss at the patello-femoral joint and a reduction of pain.
If your joints are poorly aligned or the ligaments are overstretched, consult one of our experts for safe strengthening exercises and effective treatment