This is a common question that I get, not only in the PT clinic, but also when talking
to community members whose knees are starting to show signs of arthritis. The
first part of the process has to be a good interview about your knee pain. This needs
to be conducted by a medical professional who will use the patient’s history to guide
their treatment. Though there are some common signs of arthritis of the knee, many
people have different complaints and aggravating factors. Let me list a few:
Pain with sleeping,
Pain in the morning
Pain with walking
Pain rising from chairs
Knee giving out
Pain with standing that gets better with walking
Pain with walking that gets better with sitting
Clicking in the knee
Inability to kneel
Stiffness in bending or straightening
Pain all the time!
I want people to realize that knee arthritis presents in many different varieties and
the wearing in your joint is different from the wearing in your buddy sitting across
from you at your morning McDonald’s gossip session.
Once we know how it hurts then we have to figure out what structures are actually
causing the pain. We do this by going through an evaluation of your arthritic knee
to determine where the pain is coming from. Often if we know where and from
what the pain is coming, we can design a program for you that addresses the pain
Now you are getting a good idea of the source of the aggravation of your knee. All
that is left at this point is to treat it appropriately. There are a variety of great
exercises that can be done at home to decrease pain in arthritic joints, but you first
must know what you need to be treating. For instance, did you know that treating
the hip can often decrease arthritic knee pain? Stiff hips can cause changes in how
you walk and how your knee is functioning. So if a therapist determines your hip is
stiff and gives you some stretches, there can be an improvement in the knee without
even directly addressing it. This is just one example of why people need a
comprehensive evaluation and not just the same tired old exercises that you have
learned from Google or Dr. Oz!
The final step in the process is to have a set of personalized directions given to you
laying out the plan for getting your knee better. This may include stretching,
strengthening, icing, activity modification or just simply education about the problem,
but at the very least you should have gained knowledge on how to help
yourself improve your pain and quality of life.
In case you didn’t see where I was going with this let me spell it out for you now. I
just walked you through your first 1-2 sessions with a knowledgeable, caring,
educated, and evidence informed physical therapist. If you have not received this
level of care then you owe it to yourself to find a physical therapist that will offer it
to you. This works for patients every day when it is done right, and if it doesn’t
work for you then you know you may be a candidate for surgery. Either way you
can walk into a knee replacement with your head held high knowing you did
everything on your part to prevent surgery. The silver lining being that research is
clear; patients that undergo stretching and strengthening prior to total knee
replacement do better than those that do not.
If you have questions about your knee pain or arthritis don’t hesitate to contact us at
HPT. You can call (304-525- 4445) email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reach out to
us on Facebook.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.