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.
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.
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.