Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition affecting the joints of the body. OA commonly affects the hips and knee, along with the low back, neck, and various joints of the hands and feet. OA is a degenerative condition that affects the joint cartilage and ultimately the entire joint.
Osteoarthritis OA is commonly thought of as a “wear and tear” condition. However it can also result from a previous injury or surgery of the joint. Risk for the development of OA increases as we age often showing up in people in their 50’s and 60’s. Other risk factors include obesity, inactivity, genetics, and various medical conditions. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every additional pound of body weight places three pounds of pressure on the knees and six pounds on the hips.
This condition may be caused by a prior trauma, surgery, or simple "wear and tear". Over time, the cartilage in the knee becomes thin and worn, leading to wear on the bone beneath the cartilage.
Some of the most common symptoms of Osteoarthritis include pain or aching after long activity or at the end of the day, a limited range of motion that may go away after movement, and clicking or cracking sounds when a joint bends. In addition, some patients might experience joint stiffness that usually occurs after resting or in the morning, swelling around a joint, muscle weakness, and joint instability.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms include a deep ache, stiffness, and loss of ability to climb stairs, squat and walk or stand for prolonged periods. Swelling and warmth are associated with this condition, as well as weakness in the muscles surrounding the knee and occasionally stiffness in the hip joint.
Pain commonly felt in groin area, but may radiate to buttocks, thigh, or knee.
Pain in and around the knee that may be accompanied by swelling and warmth to the touch.
Diagnosis of OA may involve medical history, physical exam that includes strength and range of motion assessment, gait analysis, special tests, and imaging. Contact Results Physiotherapy for an evaluation of your hip or knee pain to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for physical therapy treatment.
Physical therapy can help with both hip and knee Osteoarthritis. Treatment will typically involve hands-on treatment to improve range of motion and reduce pain, exercise (range of motion, strength, balance, gait), pain management modalities, and education. Osteoarthritis cannot be cured. However, physical therapy treatment can assist in managing OA related pain, physical impairments, and loss of function.
Common non-surgical treatment includes joint mobilization of the knee to unload the cartilage surfaces and to decrease stiffness. Strengthening of the hip and knee muscles help to decrease the stress on the knee joint and improve overall function. There is good evidence to support manual mobilization of the hip joint to decrease knee pain and improve function. Use of ice and electrical stimulation are useful in pain management. In more severe cases, a knee replacement is indicated. Many surgical advances have been made, and physical therapy following surgery is shown to significantly improve function and outcomes. Your therapist will coordinate with your physician to ensure a proper treatment plan.
Causes of Osteoarthritis are multifactorial and prevention may not be possible. However, there are risk factors that can be controlled to reduce the risk and severity of OA. Maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy weight can reduce the risks and severity of OA.
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