According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis and chronic joint problems cost the national economy approximately $124.8 billion annually. Individual expenses will vary, but the national average for an individual’s combined lost wages and medical expenditures is more than $5,700 per year due to Arthritic conditions, quite commonly those of the knees.
Do you experience deep aching and pain in your knees with normal daily activities like standing up from a chair, walking at the store or climbing down stairs? You might even find it difficult and painful to roll over in bed, impairing your ability to sleep. Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is a common condition, which may lead to severe pain and functional disability. Pain with Arthritis will also lead to decreased physical endurance and general weaknesses, eventually hindering your daily functional abilities.
A friend or your doctor may suggest you work with a Physical Therapist to reduce knee stiffness and pain. Your Physical Therapy sessions should consist of a focused exercise program, working one-on-one to regain the strength and flexibility of your knees while also relieving your pain. These exercises will strengthen the muscles around your ankles, knees, and hips to improve your stability and balance while also increasing your endurance. Additionally, your Physical Therapist may utilize tools such as Ultrasound, Cold Laser or possibly various types of Electrical Stimulation to help decrease pain and aid in your rehabilitation.
Recent short-term studies show that if you have Arthritis of the knees, you can improve your physical capacity, reduce your pain and improve your disability levels, with simple and gentle exercise training. Exercises which strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings, the large muscle in the front and back of your upper leg, will help to provide pain relief by transferring some of the pressure from the joint to the stronger muscles. Additionally, educating yourself about the processes of OA will help you reduce the pain and limitations caused from the inherent weaknesses and disability commonly associated with OA of the knee.
Did you know the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a branch of the CDC, reports knee and hip joint replacement procedures accounted for approximately 1/3 of arthritis-related procedures during hospitalization. Arthritis of the knee is found in 16% of adults over the age of 45. One quarter (25%) of those with knee arthritis cannot perform major activities of daily living (ADL’s), while 11% of adults with knee arthritis need help with personal care and 14% may require help with routine daily activities
|If you have one or more of these symptoms in your knee, you may have OA:1. Aches and pains, especially when moving the knee
2. Stiffness, especially in the morning and when standing up
3. “Grating” or “catching” sensations
4. Limited motion of the knee
5. Redness and swelling of the knee areaIf you experience any of the symptoms above, you should talk to your healthcare provider.
Some risk factors which you can change to reduce the possibility of developing Arthritis of the knees include:
1. Obesity significantly adds severe forces to your knees throughout the day.
2. Hard labor, heavy lifting, knee bending and repetitive motion of your knee may lead to early deterioration if you are weak.
3. Structural imbalances: If your spine, pelvis, hips and legs are weak may lead to early breakdown of the weight-bearing joint surfaces.
While trying to find ways to treat your knee pain, you should be cautious of “one size fits all” program, as your needs will vary from your neighbors, depending upon your symptoms.
Osteoarthritis of the knee can be a very painful and potentially debilitating disease that you might have in your future. With the American population living longer and longer, we can expect a staggering number of new cases of OA over the next few decades. On the bright side, with consistent and appropriately guided exercise and remaining physically active, you will be better able to manage your symptoms, remaining active, independent and pain free.