Osteoarthritis of the knee is generally a common complaint amongst those who are 50 years and older as a result of general wear and tear.

As one of the largest and most complicated joints in the body, your knees are highly susceptible to short term damage, a sports injury for example, and long term depletion which affects the condition of the joint surface.

Treating patients suffering from osteoarthritis

Horder Healthcare treats patients suffering from osteoarthritis as part of its comprehensive healthcare service.

Our team provide access to the right information and exercise advice to improve problem areas. If you suffer from mild or moderate osteoarthritis, there are plenty of ways to reduce symptoms by making small but sometimes significant lifestyle changes.

Osteoarthritis affects the movement of this joint through a series of stages:

• Cartilage becomes rough over the main surface of the knee and underneath the kneecap.
• This causes the bone underneath the cartilage to grow thicker over a broader area.
• The tissue tries to repair the problem, however, the reaction can lead to swelling in the joint along with thickening and contractions of the knee ligaments.

Although a cure for osteoarthritis is currently unavailable, exercise can reduce symptoms.

The following land and water-based exercises are recommended:

Land

  • Squats – hold onto a surface that is a comfortable height with your arms extended forward. Squat until your kneecap hides the sight of your big toe. Hold this position for a few seconds then repeat the action 10 times. Try to squat lower if you feel an improvement over time.
  • Sit to stand – try sitting down then standing up without using your arms to help. Repeat for one minute. Build up your speed within the minute as you improve.
  • Steps – using stairs at home or work, gently step up on one foot and bring your body forward into a lunge before bringing it back down so that your feet are aligned. Repeat until your legs begin to feel uncomfortable. Try increasing your speed and the height of your step over time.

Water

  • If you are testing water-based exercises for the first time, begin with slow, gentle movements, particularly if your knees are weak from surgery.
  • Bicycle – using the side of the pool, a rail or a step, find a position that allows your legs to straighten. Next, gently bring your knees up and begin a circular motion like riding a bike.
  • Lunges – using a step in the shallow end of the pool, place one foot on the step and gently bring your body forward into a lunge position. Hold the position until your knee feels uncomfortable and repeat.

Treatments

Painkillers are often used to treat pain and stiffness, whilst anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can also be used if the knee has become inflamed. Longer lasting treatments like knee replacement surgery can also be carried out if other methods of treatments have not worked.

Painkillers are frequently used, however, drugs do not address the underlying problem. There have been a number of clinical trials to assess the long-term effectiveness of exercise for the problem. According the the NHS, there is sufficient evidence to suggest exercise is one of the most important things people with osteoarthritis can do to help relieve symptoms of pain and build muscle.

Exercises to strengthen your knee post surgery

Watch our latest video featuring an in-depth guide to exercising post replacement knee surgery.

Watch video

Page last reviewed on 10/01/2018

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