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YOUR OSTEOARTHRITIS CARE GUIDE

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Your care guide's focus is on practical strategies to reduce pain, improve function, and promote joint recovery.

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OVERVIEW

This care guide and related information is educational in nature. Always consult with a medical professional prior to initiating new exercises or trying a new product, drug, or supplement.

 

YOUR STRATEGY

Clinical Evidence: Strong
A key strategy to managing osteoarthritis (OA) is minimizing irritation to your knee - while also remaining as active as possible. It is critical you understand this fact. Too little movement weakens the knee, leading to more pain. Too much movement exacerbates the arthritis, also leading to more pain. You have to walk the line. Keep moving but take it easy with activities that exacerbate your pain. These will tend to be high-impact activities. Avoid periods of prolonged inactivity as much as possible. This will help keep the knee from stiffening up. A daily walking regimen is highly recommended. Cycling and swimming are particularly good activities due to their low-impact nature. Once again, the key is consistency and remaining as active as possible.

YOUR EXERCISES

Clinical Evidence: Strong

Begin a targeted osteoarthritis exercise program. For best results, make sure you address both strength and flexibility. We have given you a head start with an exercise program at the bottom of this care guide. Perform your exercises at least two times a day when possible. You can cycle down as the pain diminishes. Please keep in mind, osteoarthritis is a chronic condition and will require long-term maintenance. This is about developing a simple set of exercises you can consistently maintain.

ICE VS HEAT

Clinical Evidence: Strong

Hot packs tend to be more helpful than ice when addressing osteoarthritis pain. For this reason, we recommend trying heat first, but ice can work as well.

MEDICATIONS

Clinical Evidence: Strong

Our literature review indicates a combination of NSAID topical cream and oral acetaminophen is a reasonable first strategy to consider. Learn More

PAIN TOOLS

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Let's be clear - therapeutic exercise and activity modification are your best bet. But everyone asks us about these joint tools and "if they work." To be honest, it's a tricky question. Results vary significantly person-to-person, and supporting evidence varies product-to-product.

 

Still, our users want answers, so we did a full clinical review on each product-class, and prioritized based on current strength of evidence. We were surprised by some of the findings.

 

MASSAGE GUNS

Clinical Evidence: Good(+)

Percussive massage devices use rapid, repetitive strokes to target deep muscle tissue. Evidence shows support for both pain reduction and improved flexibility.

Massage Gun Evidence & Review

KNEE BRACES

Clinical Evidence: Fair

The right knee brace can add support, reduce pain, and help you remain active. Take care to match the type of brace with your specific knee issue.

Knee Braces Evidence & Review

E-STIM UNITS

Clinical Evidence: Fair

E-stim units are a drug-free, pain relief option. New models allow for easy home use. AMP technology may reduce the risk of developing tolerance.

E-Stim Evidence & Review

WHAT TO EXPECT

A conservative strategy of exercise and activity modification should lead to noticeable improvement within a week. Other interventions, such as heat therapy, bracing, massage etc. often lead to more immediate relief. This will be highly variable between individuals. We do want to be clear: Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease you will need to manage daily, and some days will be more painful than others. Sometimes you will be able to identify the causes of a flare-up. Other times it will seem random. This can be frustrating, but a consistent joint maintenance program can maximize your function while minimizing the pain. SEVERE OSTEOARTHRITIS If the pain begins to severely limit your functional activities, this can also effect your mobility and general health. After all, movement is life! More invasive interventions such as joint replacement have come a very long way in recent years and are often life-changing in their ability to resolve pain and return function. Many individuals with crippling OA wait too long before speaking with an orthopedic about this option. Please keep this in mind.
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PROVEN CARE

(When You Just Need More)

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Knee care is often severely delayed due to the barriers of time, travel, and cost. These delays can have life-long consequences on recovery - also known as a lot of unnecessary pain. To overcome this challenge, new options have become available that bring evidence-based care to you. No prescription required.

HANDS-ON CARE, BROUGHT TO YOU

Confirm your condition, review exercises, and get hands-on care. An expert Physical Therapist will evaluate your back in person, at home or work. Insurance accepted. Same cost as in a clinic, no prescription required. We love this. Learn More

100% VIRTUAL KNEE PAIN CARE

The next generation of joint care is here. Built for ease of use and accessibility. Access to a licensed physical therapist on your phone or laptop. Motion-sensing technology. Covered through insurance or employer benefits. We review your options. Learn More

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YOUR EXERCISES

Selected based on your condition match and care profile

Stretches

Hold for 45-60 seconds

1-2 repetitions per session

Perform on each side

Strengthening

10-15 repetitions per set

1 set per session

Perform on each side

 - Consult with a physician prior to trying new exercises -

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Quadriceps Stretch

The quadriceps are located on the front of your thigh. When tight they add strain to the knee join.

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Hamstrings Stretch

The hamstrings are located on the back of your knee(s). Tight hamstrings place strain on the knee joint.

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Short Arc Quads

This exercise targets the end range of knee extension strength. This range often weakens with knee irritation.

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