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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Understanding Arthritis. Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

The most common cause of Knee Arthritis is Knee Osteoarthritis (OA). Knee osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative knee condition where the articular cartilage of your knee joint gradually wears away, exposing the underlying bone. As your knee arthritis begins to get worse, bony spurs can also develop in and around your knee joint in response to the change in weight distribution and mobility. What Causes Knee Arthritis?

There are several factors which have been found to predispose people to develop osteoarthritis in the knee joints: Age As you age it is normal for joint surfaces to suffer from wear and tear, especially the major weight-bearing joints. The ability of joint cartilage to repair itself also declines as you grow older. Weight Your weight will affect the amount of load the joints in your lower limb have to support during weight-bearing activities. Previous Knee Joint Injury A previous injury to your knee can change the biomechanics of your knee joint. This leads to an abnormal distribution of load through the knee in everyday tasks. Genetics This can often affect the articular cartilage of the joint and can lead to either decreased lay down of cartilage, normal lay down of defective cartilage on the joint surfaces. Occupation or Sports  It is important to understand that joint compression is essential for stimulating joint nutrition. Repetition of activities that excessively compress the joint such as in running, can be linked to an earlier onset of knee arthritis. What are the Symptoms of Knee Arthritis? 

Knee Pain often with a gradual onset and progression often worse first thing in the morning or after periods of inactivity. Knee Pain often aggravated with weight bearing activities such as climbing stairs, kneeling and squatting

Knee stiffness Knee swelling Clicking or grinding  Decreased strength of local muscles 

What is the Treatment for Knee Arthritis?

Physical Therapy  Knee arthritis is a degenerative condition. Physical therapy is aimed at improving the symptoms of knee pain, swelling, stiffness, and you should begin to notice a positive difference within one or a few sessions. The main goals of physical therapy for your knee arthritis are: Reduce your knee pain and inflammation. Maintain healthy Knee and hip range of motion. Strengthen your knee and the muscles of the hip. Improve your patellofemoral (knee cap) alignment and function. Promote good muscle flexibility Improve your proprioception, agility and balance.

Enhance stability. Improve your technique and function eg walking, squatting.

Knee Braces may be recommended to help to de-load certain structures. There are many different styles available and it is important to find one that suits your individual needs. 

Knee Arthritis Surgery

In some cases, patients with knee arthritis choose to undergo knee surgery to address the degeneration in the knee. The most common forms of surgery for this condition are arthroscopes, partial or total knee replacements. Usually, surgery is only recommended if absolutely necessary. Risks of surgery include infection, persistent instability and pain, stiffness, and difficulty returning to your previous level of activity. The good news is that undesirable side-effects following surgery is generally uncommon. Post-Surgical Knee Rehabilitation

Post-operative knee rehabilitation is extremely important and can often be the key component for success following surgical repair.  Your rehabilitation following knee surgery focuses on restoring full knee motion, strength, power and endurance. You will also require balance, proprioception and agility retraining that is individualise towards your specific functional needs.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Treatment 

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment is a another commonly used successful treatment with the arthritis. This form of treatment is safe and holds minimal side-effects. Also, credit which plasma treatment may be worth considering for people who want to avoid surgery.

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