According to the arthritis society, one in six Canadians report having osteoarthritis (OA).
Some risk factors for OA include family history, being overweight, joint injury and overuse.
While there is no cure for OA at present, early diagnosis and treatment is key in preventing, chronic pain, loss of mobility and decreased function.
There are ways you can self-manage to protect your knees from strain and overuse and manage your pain:
• heat and cold packs to soothe pain
• pacing and having regular rest breaks
• breathing and relaxation techniques
• improving posture
• being mindful of body mechanics-walking, bending and doing everyday activities with care
• sleep management
• pain medicine/ injections
• consider losing weight if needed to ease the burden on knee joints.
Using knee braces
There are two types of braces—“unloader” braces, which take the weight away from the side of the knee affected by arthritis; and “support” braces, which provide support for the entire knee.
Occupational therapists teach you ways to perform regular, daily activities, such as housework, with less pain.
One of the most effective self-management options to help delay the progression and reduce arthritis pain is through appropriate exercise.
A personal trainer or Instructor with arthritis training can teach you ways to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility in your joint.
When other treatments don’t work, surgery becomes a good option
If your doctor wants to treat the osteoarthritis in the knee with surgery, the options are arthroscopy, osteotomy, and arthroplasty.
Arthroscopy uses a small telescope (arthroscope) the surgeon uses the arthroscope to see into the joint space.
Once there, the surgeon can remove damaged cartilage or loose particles, clean the bone surface, and repair other types of tissue if those damages are discovered.
The procedure is often used on younger patients (ages 55 and younger) in order to delay more serious surgery.
An osteotomy is a procedure that aims to make the knee alignment better by changing the shape of the bones.
This type of surgery may be recommended if you have damage primarily in one area of the knee or if you have broken your knee and it has not healed well.
An osteotomy is not permanent, and further surgery may be necessary later on.
Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which joints are replaced with artificial parts made from metals or plastic.
The replacement could involve one side of the knee or the entire knee. Joint replacement surgery is usually reserved for people over age 50 with severe osteoarthritis.
The surgery may need to be repeated later if the joint wears out again after several years, but with today’s modern advancements most new joints will last 15-20 years.
If knee surgery is in your future, getting into the best possible shape will be paramount in speeding your recovery and regaining mobility and strength.
For more information on pre and post recommended exercise programs and classes call 250-317-3508.