Physiotherapy for Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is one of the most prevalent joint issues in our aging population. Whether you get it following a traumatic knee injury or simply from wear and tear, the result is pretty much the same – pain and a reduced ability to live an active life. While painkillers help relieve pain and anti-inflammatory injections can temporarily reduce inflammation in your knee, there are other ways to ease discomfort and ultimately, delay surgery.
Stiff joints are common in people with arthritis – largely because you would naturally avoid movements that can increase the pain. A physiotherapist will teach you how to work out stiffness without further damaging your joint. The primary focus of therapy includes increasing the range of motion of a joint as this is key to maintaining the ability to perform daily activities. At the same time, building strength in the surrounding muscles is necessary for stabilising the weakened joint.
Your physiotherapist will design an individualised treatment programme that helps you strengthen your weak muscles and improve flexibility and range of joint motion.
Our physiotherapists are trained in hands-on therapy, they help to gently move and mobilise your muscles and joints to improve your range of joint motion, flexbility and strength. These manual techniques are able to target areas that are difficult to treat on your own.
Electrical stimulation with an ultrasound is a useful option for treating knee osteoarthritis, especially in clients who aren’t able to carry out the prescribed exercised program. The ultrasound treatment eases pain and strengthens the quadriceps muscles supporting the knee.
An essential part of rehabilitation includes strengthening the muscles around your knee. As the muscles along the front and back of your thigh (quadriceps and hamstrings) cross the knee joint, they help control the motion and forces that are applied to the bones. Strengthening the hip and core muscles also help balance the amount of force on the knees, especially during running or walking. Your sports trainer will assess these different muscle groups, compare the strength in each limb and prescribe specific exercises to target your areas of weakness.
Physiotherapists are trained to prescribe suitable exercises to clients with specific injuries or pain. As osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, it is crucial to develop a specific plan to carry out enough activity to address the problem while avoiding stress on the knee joint at the same time. Your exercise plan takes into consideration the extent of your arthritis to address your needs and maximise your knee function.
With improved muscular control and proper management, physiotherapy and exercise can help you optimise your daily function and delay the need for surgery.