By: Mitchell Laidler BScPT
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint disorders and is primarily seen in older populations over the age of 65 years old.
It is characterized by the changes in the joint itself, a decrease in cartilage thickness and formation of new bone (known as osteophytes) at the joint borders, causing the bone to lose its smooth ending, forming ‘jagged edges’.
Some symptoms you may experience include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, and intermittent crepitus.
There are many variable factors that can influence these degenerative changes, such as age, weight, joint instability and muscle weakness.
In a recent study, some physical interventions that had the best evidence for treating knee osteoarthritis were:
- Biomechanical interventions (e.g. knee alignment, foot arch support)
- The use of a cane or walking stick (for single knee osteoarthritis)
- Land and water based aerobic activity
- Strength training
- Weight management strategies
Although there are some pharmacological interventions for knee osteoarthritis, the best evidence still points towards the use of physical interventions to reduce pain and increase function in those with osteoarthritis.
This is where physiotherapy can step in and assist with creating a personalized rehab plan. Speak to your local therapist about how they can help you manage your symptoms.
Goldring, S. R., & Goldring, M. B. (2006). Clinical aspects, pathology and pathophysiology of osteoarthritis. Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions, 6(4), 376.
BA, M. S., Arden, N. K., & Kwoh, M. D. OARSI Guidelines for the Non-‐Surgical Management of Knee Osteoarthritis.