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  • Runners Knee small
    April 8, 2019

    By: Michele Beltram, P.T., DPT, OCS, Kessler Rehabilitation Center

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time. Knee OA affects nearly 14 million people of which roughly 50 percent are under the age of 65.* Women are more likely than men to get OA and the risk increases with age. Progressive inflammation and damage to bony structures of the knee joint can occur at a younger age if the patient has had a sports injury, enjoys an activity that repetitively stresses the joint or does heavy lifting.  

    Knee OA may cause pain when rising from a chair, standing, walking and using stairs. The pain may be aggravated by:

    •               Muscle weakness
    •               Decreased range of motion
    •               Poor alignment of the knee, hip and ankle
    •               Excess weight

    Physical therapists are movement specialists who help to improve physical activity and promote lifestyle changes that can reduce the symptoms of knee OA. Many times, the first line of defense is exercise and weight reduction to reduce pain and improve mobility. In fact, exercise and physical activity often result in better outcomes than medications, injections and surgery. ** An individualized treatment plan created by a physical therapist to reduce the symptoms of knew OA might include:

    •          Manual therapy
    •          Taping
    •          Exercise program to improve muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion
    •          Orthotics
    •          Heat and cold therapy
    •          Education on how to manage flare ups and physical activity

    Studies in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy have shown that supervised exercise therapy can help get you on the road to being pain-free. Returning to physical therapy for periodic updates also has been shown to provide benefits over the long-term in conjunction with a tailored home exercise regime to manage symptoms and maintain high levels of physical activity and function.

    Talk with your physical therapist about ways we can help you manage knee OA and keep you doing the things you love.


    *Arthritis Care & Research Journal

    **New England Journal of Medicine