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The Young Arthritic Knee - What to do?

Osteoarthritis affects on average one in two people. Presently, people are being diagnosed with OA at a much earlier age than in previous years. More premature onset osteoarthritis may be a reflection of changes in activity levels, diet and other lifestyle factors.

As a result, it is predicted that in ten years, there will be seven times more osteoarthritis related to total knee replacement surgeries performed by orthopaedic surgeons.

According to the orthopaedic consultant, Mihai Vioreanu, preservation of the knee joint is critical. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends:

  • Low impact aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming and walking
  • Weight loss if necessary
  • Building strength, balance and flexibility around the knee joints.
  • Correct use of anti-inflammatory medication, when indicated.

knee painIt is essential to find the correct activity and exercise balance. Under-used knees can become weak and intolerant of stresses and strains, thereby more prone to injury and wear and tear. Over-used knees can also be susceptible to injury if without adequate rest and recovery periods.

It has been reported that 20% of people under the age of 65 that undergo total knee replacements are dissatisfied with the outcome. According to Mihai Vioreanu, the dissatisfaction rate is primarily due to a mismatch of expectations and insufficient patient education. In his opinion, total knee replacement surgery should only be considered if someone cannot sleep due to pain, have had to give up social activities, and all conservative treatment attempts have failed.

Chartered Physiotherapy is an excellent form of conservative treatment for knee OA and should be the first-line treatment. Physiotherapy can alleviate pain and swelling and help build the strength, flexibility and the balance needed to preserve the knee joints.

Here at the clinic, we offer an effective integrated treatment approach which includes evidence-based exercise therapy, manual therapy and electro-acupuncture techniques. Advice is also provided on activity and other lifestyle factors, as well as diet if required.

If you are struggling with your knees, please give us a call and book an assessment.

By Rachael Cleary

Chartered Physiotherapist

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