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Arthritis is a common condition that affects many people, including young adults and seniors. Knee Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that specifically affects the knees and is a result of inflammation of joints and cartilage degradation. This type of arthritis can cause constant pain, joint stiffness, and mobility issues. However, with the right preventative measures and physical therapy, knee arthritis can be managed so that you can continue to enjoy your daily activities. In this post, we will discuss prevention methods, symptoms and causes of the condition, triggers to avoid, and physical therapy that can be done to improve the quality of life for people living with knee arthritis.
Prevention Methods of Knee Arthritis
Preventative measures are crucial in avoiding knee arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding physical trauma, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet are all effective ways to help prevent knee arthritis. To further prevent knee arthritis, mobility of the knee, ankle, and hip, combined with strengthening the muscles in the legs around the knee can help prevent the breakdown of tissue. Exercise such as cycling, swimming, walking, running, dancing, and weight lifting is recommended.
Causes and Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
Over time, the cartilage that helps cushion the joint wears down causing bones to rub against each other, leading to inflammation and pain. The most common types of knee arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. The symptoms of knee arthritis include stiffness, pain, swelling, and decreased mobility. In some cases, knee arthritis may also cause a cracking or popping sensation in the knee.
Joint degeneration can be a normal part of aging, which is one of the major causes of knee arthritis. Other causes include obesity, genetic risk factors, sports injuries, and repetitive movement of the joint. Understanding the cause of your knee arthritis helps with treatment options.
Triggers to Avoid
There are certain triggers that can worsen knee arthritis symptoms. These triggers include cold weather, high-impact sports, bad posture, and overusing knees, leading to flare-up discomforts. Overuse of the joint increases the likelihood of normal age changes to cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness. Activities such as long-distance running, heavy lifting, and walking down steep hills should be approached with caution. Lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption and eating a healthy diet can positively affect arthritis symptoms. It is helpful to be aware of the activities that trigger your knee arthritis and may be best to modify those activities to manage symptoms. Taking breaks regularly, listening to your body, and avoiding extreme temperatures that affect your joints are also essential measures.
Physical Therapy for Knee Arthritis
Physical therapy is a critical aspect of managing knee arthritis. Physical therapy can help reduce pain, improve mobility, and strengthen the surrounding musculature. Practicing stretching exercises in a warm-water pool or with resistance bands can help reduce stiffness in the knee joint. Physical therapists can also provide personalized exercise programs and pain management techniques for people with knee arthritis.
In conclusion, knee arthritis can cause severe discomfort and pain, and it can be challenging to manage daily activities. The good news is that with the right preventative measures, avoiding triggers, and physical therapy, knee arthritis can be managed effectively. It’s never too late to start making lifestyle changes that can help mitigate the symptoms of knee arthritis. Speak with your doctor about pain management and physical therapy options, and don’t hesitate to seek help from a physical therapist for a personalized treatment plan. With the right tools, managing knee arthritis can be achievable and allow people to maintain their quality of life.
Schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today to get started!