The knee joint is affected by the condition known as knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that develops over time as the cartilage that protects the bones in a joint wears off, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joint.
The cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away in knee osteoarthritis, which can lead to the bones rubbing against one another. This can result in the development of bone spurs and small tears in the meniscus, that cushions the knee joint. The surrounding muscles and ligaments may degenerate and the joint may become inflamed as the condition progresses.
Older people are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than younger ones, although younger people who have had a knee injury or have a family history of the condition are also at risk. A combination of medicine, exercises, weight management, and physiotherapy can be used to address this chronic illness. Surgery to replace the knee may be required in extreme circumstances.
Causes of knee osteoarthritis:
Several factors can contribute to knee osteoarthritis development, including:
- Age: Osteoarthritis can develop as people age because the cartilage in their joints starts to wear out over time.
- Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to osteoarthritis.
- Obesity: Being overweight puts additional strain on the knee joints, which can accelerate the damage of the cartilage.
- Previous knee injuries: Later in life, knee osteoarthritis may be more prone to occur in those who have previously suffered from knee injuries like ligament or meniscus tears.
- Overuse: Activities that place the knee joint under repeated strain, such as running and jumping, can wear down the knee joint and raise the risk of osteoarthritis in the knee.
- Joint misalignment: A misaligned knee joint may place additional strain on specific joint components, accelerating the degeneration of the cartilage. Bow legs or knock knees are two examples.
- Due to Sports: Any sport can cause this condition if it is played without safety precautions and with improper technique.
- Other medical conditions: Knee osteoarthritis can be caused by several illnesses, including gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
The symptoms of knee osteoarthritis can vary from person to person, but some common signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in the knee: The most typical symptom of knee osteoarthritis is Knee joint pain. The pain may be dull or sharp, and it may get worse after engaging in physical activity or spending a lot of time sitting still.
- Stiffness: Another typical sign of knee osteoarthritis is stiffness in the knee joint, particularly in the morning or after spending much time sitting down.
- Swollen knees: The knee joint can swell and feel warm to the touch.
- Reduced range of motion: It might be more difficult to fully straighten or bend the knee than it once was, and the knee joint might not move as freely as it once did.
- Crunching or popping sounds: If you move your knee, you might hear a popping or grinding sound.
- Weakness: Standing up from a sitting position, climbing stairs, and walking may become difficult due to a weakening of the muscles surrounding the knee joint.
- Deformity: In extreme circumstances, the bones of the knee joint may move out of position and deform.
Knee osteoarthritis can be successfully treated with physiotherapy. Physiotherapy aims to increase mobility, decrease discomfort, and enhance knee function. Some common Physiotherapy to treat knee osteoarthritis include:
- Firstly, Exercise: Certain exercises may be suggested by physiotherapists to assist increase knee strength and range of motion. Exercises that increase muscle strength can also support the knee joint and reduce pain.
- Here are some Common exercises:
- Quads isometric.
- Leg lifts.
- Standing hamstring curls.
- Leg extension.
- Exercises with TheraBand.
- Quads stretch.
- Hamstring stretches.
- Calf stretches.
- Low-impact aerobic exercise.
- Balance and proprioception exercises.
- Here are some Common exercises:
- Then, Manual therapy: Joint and soft tissue mobilization techniques used in manual therapy can help ease knee pain and stiffness.
- Also, Heat or ice therapy: Inflammation and soreness in the knee joint can be reduced by applying heat or ice.
- TENS therapy: TENS therapy, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, can help with knee function and pain management.
- Ultrasound therapy: To encourage healing in the knee joint, ultrasound therapy uses sound waves. It can ease pain and enhance knee performance.
- Laser therapy: Low-powered lasers are used to give light energy to the affected area. to stimulate tissue healing, reduce pain and inflammation, and enhance joint mobility.
- Also, Paraffin wax: Can be used to reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Melted paraffin wax is applied to the affected joint, which can aid in promoting tissue healing and improving circulation.
- Assistive devices: To support the knee joint and reduce pain while engaging in physical activity, physiotherapists may advise using assistive equipment like a cane or knee brace.
- Last but not the least, Education: Physiotherapists can instruct patients on good knee mechanics, including how to ascend stairs or stand up from a chair without placing undue strain on the knee joint.