What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

A degenerative joint disease or ‘wear and tear’ arthritis that occurs when the protective cartilage within the knee joint wears away. This condition is commonly starts in people in their late 40s to early 60s and affects females more than males

What causes knee osteoarthritis?

It is caused by cartilage degeneration (from frank trauma or repetitive mechanical stress). There is also a very strong correlation between knee OA & obesity

What symptoms might you experience?

  • Pain, stiffness and swelling in the knee joint
  • Pain often worsens with use of joint and may have grinding/crunching sensation during movement
  • Stiffness especially in the morning or after periods of rest/inactivity

How is it treated?

As with most musculoskeletal conditions, management must involve a combination of medical and physiotherapeutic treatments.

Medical management involves prescription drugs to relieve pain, inflammation and ease muscle spasm e.g. NSAIDs and muscle relaxants; topical pain relief e.g. analgesic patch; joint injection if recommended.

Physiotherapy management

  • Activity modification
  • Heat pack use
  • Therapeutic modalities such as SIS therapy, electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment
  • Manual therapy as tolerated (therapist applies hands-on treatment to alleviate stiff joints and sore muscles where applicable)
  • Therapeutic exercises to restore pain-free movement
  • Walking aid prescription if indicated
  • Knee brace may be recommended to provide support during daily activities/exercises (based on therapist’s assessment)

Lifestyle management

  • Improve diet & weight control
  • Joint supplementation

Surgical management (where conservative management fails in moderate to severe cases)

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