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. Care strategies reviewed for clinical efficacy with ratings provided.  

 

TOP PRIORITIES

KEEP MOVING

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.

START YOUR EXERCISES

Clinical Evidence: Strong

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! See below. 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.

SOOTHE THE JOINT

Clinical Evidence: Good

Hot packs tend to be more helpful than ice when addressing osteoarthritis pain. Learn More and View Recommended Hot Packs 

JOINT PAIN TOOLS

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When exploring joint care tools, we recommend trying one at a time. This will allow you to determine which option(s) provide the most relief for you. Prioritize based on your greatest concerns (instability, try a brace first.) 

 

SUPPORT THE KNEE

Clinical Evidence: Fair

For people with osteoarthritis, a knee brace can add a sense of support, reduce pain, and keep you moving. Learn More and View Recommended Braces

RELAX THE MUSCLES

Clinical Evidence: Good

Percussive massage devices use rapid, repetitive strokes to target deep muscle tissue and reduce pain.  Learn More and View Recommended Devices

CONTROL THE PAIN

Clinical Evidence: Fair

TENS units are a drug-free, pain relief option. New models allow for easy home use. Learn More and and View Recommended Models.

REDUCE INFLAMMATION

Clinical Evidence: Strong

Medications to reduce pain and manage joint inflammation can be an effective intervention.  Learn More

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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YOUR EXERCISES

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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 joint, which  exacerbates your pain.

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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, which increased pain and reducing function.

Short arc quads

Short Arc Quads

This exercise targets the end range of knee extension strength. This range often weakens with localized knee inflammation from osteoarthritis, leading to knee buckling and pain.

Quadriceps Strength

The quadriceps are some of the most important functional muscles in the body. When weak, pain and instability in the knee occurs. This exercise strengthens without exacerbating your pain.

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 strain on the knee.

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