Have you been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the knee? Knee arthritis is extremely prevalent, affecting 45% of adults over the age of 65. A recent systematic review from the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that exercise therapy alone is effective in improving quality of life in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Knee arthritis occurs with wear and tear of the smooth cartilage between the bones of the knee. This cartilage normally acts as a smooth gliding interface between bones. Over time however, wear and tear will lead to the surface of the cartilage to be rough and frayed. Ultimately, rubbing of these rough surfaces against each other will cause inflammation and pain.
Through exercise we are able to improve the symptoms of knee arthritis in two main ways. Firstly, stretching the soft tissue around the knee will help increase the joint space between the bones in the knee, allowing for improved pain-free range of motion in the knee. This means that you will be able to move the knee more freely with less pain. Secondly, strengthening exercises will strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint, which will decrease the amount of stress and strain placed on the actual joint surface during daily activities.
This may seem counterintuitive as moving the knee may cause pain in itself. However, the key is to have enough pain-free range of motion in the knee to do these exercises without pain or discomfort. Our team of physiotherapists can help you determine not only which movements you should avoid, but more importantly which movements you should be doing to help reduce your knee pain and improve your quality of life! Come talk to one of our clinicians today and see how we can help!
Briani RV, Ferreira AS, Pazzinatto MF, et al. What interventions can improve quality of life or psychosocial factors of individuals with knee osteoarthritis? A systematic review with meta-analysis of primary outcomes from randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med 2018;52:1031-1038.
Statistics Canada. 2009 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada: Arthritis Component. Questionnaire. 2009. Available at: http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb-bmdi/instrument/5160_Q1_V1-eng.pdf.