OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN GUIDE

Physiobot. Joint pain questions, meet answer.

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by Matthew Henderson, MPT

Masters of Physical Therapy

PRIMARY STRATEGY

The key to managing osteoarthritis is movement. Too LITTLE movement weakens the knee, leading to more pain. To MUCH movement exacerbates the arthritis, also leading to more pain.

You have to walk the line. 

MEASURED MOVEMENT

Keep the knee moving, but take it easy with activities that exacerbate your pain (running, squats etc.) This will allow the inflammation to settle down. 

ICE VS HEAT
If you notice swelling, go with ice instead of hot packs. However, for many individuals dealing with chronic osteoarthritis pain, heat seems to work best. 

 

EXERCISE
Also begin a targeted osteoarthritis exercise program. For best results, make sure you address both strength and flexibility. Luckily you don't have to figure out which exercises to perform, our PT's have done it for you! Just select the exercise option below.

 

RECOMMENDED

Cycling and swimming are particularly good movement activities for knee arthritis due their non-weightbearing nature. 

FREQUENCY
Try to do your exercises a few times a day. You can cycle down as the pain diminishes.

WHAT TO EXPECT
These strategies should lead to noticeable improvement within a 3-5 days. 

KNEE BRACES

The evidence on knee braces is mixed and should not replace exercises. That said, many individuals report significant pain relief and a perception of increased support around the knee when utilizing a knee brace. There are a variety of knee brace types and it is important to pick the option that fits your particular needs. For additional guidance, please view our Best Knee Braces of 2022 Guide.

 

NOT IMPROVING?
Connecting with a joint care professional is the logical next step. Many individuals find this a bit daunting and delay care. But it is important to keep in mind that the earlier treatment is initiated the more likely you are to experience a fast and full recovery. For additional information, our Best Telehealth, In-Home and In-Clinic Professional Joint Care Specialist Options Guide is now available.

 

-- Check with your doctor or local physical therapist prior to initiating a new exercise program --

YOUR EXERCISES

#1

Quadriceps Stretch

The quadriceps are located on the front of your thigh. When tight they add strain to the knee joint, particularly the meniscus and kneecap.

#2

Hamstrings Stretch

The hamstrings are located on the back of your knee(s). Tight hamstrings place excessive strain on the knee joint as a whole, increasing meniscal pain and irritation.

Short arc quads

#3

Short Arc Quads

This exercise targets the end range of knee extension strength. This range often weakens following a knee injury, leading to knee buckling and pain.

#4

Quadriceps Strength

The quadriceps are some of the most important functional muscles in the body. When weak, pain and instability in the knee often occurs.

#5

Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius is located on the outer hip. It may seem strange to target the outer hips for knee pain, but research shows strengthening this region is key to reducing meniscal pain.

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