Post by Sam Donaldson, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist
What can you do?
Thank you for following on through these blogs on knee osteoarthritis (OA). Hopefully, some of this information has been helpful and the same goes for what follows.
Many of us start the new year by getting more active. Unfortunately, sometimes this means we start doing something that we aren’t prepared for. This often leads to overuse injuries, but what we are seeing more and more in our population is osteoarthritis, a condition which can affect our ability to start activity and remain active.
The previous blog was a brief overview of some of the issues leading to knee OA, which have been grumbling along for quite a few years (or decades) in most cases. We saw that the cartilage within the knee is not as tolerant over the activities it is asked to undertake and due to some of the normal bodily processes this can a) cause pain, and b) influence further change in the tissue.
So how is it best managed?
Total knee replacement? WRONG!
Well… sure, eventually, if conservative management has not been successful and the pain is significantly impacting on daily function, health and life, then surgery is a reasonable option.
But before then, and even included as part of your treatment if surgery is required , every person with knee OA should be addressing the lifestyle factors that they can control.
This may require losing weight or attending to diet. Exercise is a must, and good guidance on this is paramount. Better movement patterns will often help as well. Physiotherapy, including massage and joint mobilisation, has been shown to help with reported function.
Some people will benefit from pharmaceuticals (drugs) prescribed by their doctor, and perhaps trialling orthotics or specialised braces may help. This is likely to be more effective when daily function is being regularly impacted upon due to the knee pain, however it is not effective for everyone.
Of greatest importance here is the emphasis on diet and exercise. Having a good understanding of the issue in your knee will help, and this will be slightly different from person to person.
Understanding what to do about exercise and what to do about diet will also help, but actioning this is the most important thing.
To get some guidance on this there are a number of options, from group sessions to private therapy. If you believe you could benefit from some help in this area, get in touch on 07 3856 5566. If physiotherapy isn’t your best option, we will help you find a great exercise physiologist or dietitian!