If you or a loved one is suffering from knee arthritis and pain with everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs, there are some very simple yet extremely effective interventions available which may be able to significantly help.

Our mobile physiotherapists in Sydney are currently providing exercise interventions to many individuals who are suffering from crippling knee pain. The best part is that our mobile physiotherapist are able to provide these interventions in your home.

What is arthritis?

Before we discuss what treatments are available for knee arthritis, here is a link that provides a good definition of what arthritis is. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Knee Arthritis Treatment?

This article will discuss specifically what treatments are available for knee arthritis focussing primarily on knee osteoarthritis. There are some great resources out there for people to read and the Arthritis Australia website is a good start.

Treatment for knee arthritis, similar to other musculoskeletal disorders is usually classified into surgical and conservative approaches. In future posts we will discuss surgical options for knee arthritis, which is an evolving field. In this post we will focus on conservative treatment for knee arthritis

What are the conservative treatments for knee arthritis?

Conservative treatment options for knee arthritis can be generally grouped into passive and active treatment techniques.

Passive treatment techniques is where little effort if any is required from the individual receiving the treatment. Passive treatments tend to have short term pain relieving effects and can include:

  • Joint mobilisations
  • Soft tissue techniques
  • Acupuncture
  • Dry needling
  • Tens
  • Laser
  • Braces and gaurds
  • Heat pack/ cold pack

Active approaches for the treatment of knee arthritis include:

  • Exercise
  • Analysing Biomechanics
  • Monitoring load
  • Weight loss strategies including diet

There is good evidence that demonstrates the right type of exercises can significantly help to improve the pain associated with knee arthritis. Further, if surgical intervention are sought for knee arthritis in the future, active treatment prior to surgical interventions can significantly help improve rehabilitation timeframes in the postoperative period.

In general, our mobilise physiotherapists combine both active and passive treatment approaches for the treatment of knee arthritis. They usually start with passive treatment strategies and overtime will work with you to increase your exercise tolerance as your knee pain reduces.

What not to do if you are managing knee arthritis?

Below are a few key points which you should NOT do if you have are having ongoing knee pain secondary to arthritis,.

  • Taking and increasing medications without the close monitoring of a pain specialist. It is okay to take pain medications to help with walking and allow you to function, however this needs to be monitored by a pain specialists.
  • Suddenly increasing the level of activity you are doing. If you have ongoing knee pain secondary to arthritis, suddenly increasing the level of activity that you are doing is undoubtedly going to cause a flare up which will then lead to a period of inactivity. By working closely with one our mobile physiotherapists will ensure that the activity which you are completing can be closely monitored so that the likelihood of a flare up of knee pain can be reduced.  

How can our physiotherapists help?

At Allied Health 2U, our mobile physiotherapy team provides tailored treatment for individuals with knee arthritis. We will sit down and discuss with you what your goals are and walk you through your journey to recovery.

Prehabilitation and rehabilitation is also provided for individuals with knee arthritis undergoing surgery. Our orthopaedic physiotherapists will be able to guide you through the process ensuring there is not an ounce of stress along the road the recovery, while you make the most of your new knee!

Take home message

It is important to understand that every single individual will have different requirements in their management. While some key points such as general exercise and weight loss is helpful for everyone, each individual will require their own specific and tailored program unique to them so the greatest benefits can be found.

Getting an individualised assessment will allow a tailored management program to be created. For example, a skilled therapist who can identify when knee pain is referred from the lower back and understand how the lower back can be treated can save years and years of trouble for the person suffering! Of course, this can be quite tricky when there are also changes on scans which demonstrate knee arthritis is present!!