So many of us have knee pain. Many just take ibuprofen or ice down after an athletic activity that leaves the knees screaming. What other options for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis? One important thing to note is that once osteoarthritis starts in your knee, you cannot reverse the damage — you can, however, slow or even the progression of osteoarthritis.
Being overweight is a big factor in the increase of cases of osteoarthritis, as is age. Symptoms typically increase from the ages of 55 to 64.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Pain may slowly develop over time. Your knees could hurt before, after, or when you move them, or even when light pressure is put on them. If you have not been mobile for a while, your knees may feel stiff and your range of motion could be limited. It is even possible to hear or feel a grating sound or sensation when bending your knees. You are experiencing these symptoms because the cartilage in your knee is changing. Cartilage is the tissue that is between your joints that is responsible for motion. If cartilage starts to wear down or even completely diminish, your bones will be rubbing on each other and this can be very painful.
Others at Risk for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can be an inherited genetic disorder. You could inherit a disorder that may interfere with your body’s production of cartilage, meaning you could see symptoms of osteoarthritis at an earlier age. Athletes that have repeatedly used their knees or suffered knee injuries while playing sports may be more susceptible to osteoarthritis in their knees.
Ways to Manage the Pain
- Stay away from high-impact, repetitive sports and exercises such as tennis and running that can further harm your already damaged knees. Listen to what your body tells you — if it hurts, you probably shouldn’t do it.
- Participate in low-impact exercises that are still aerobic such as biking, swimming, and walking. These types of activities will assist in making the joints stronger and help keep them aligned and working correctly. A physical therapist, like a physical therapist from AmeriWell Clinics, can design an exercise program specifically around your strengths and weaknesses.
- Include both flexibility and strength training in addition to aerobic exercise. Stretching will help maintain and may increase flexibility in the knee and strength exercises work to support muscles all around the joints.
- When you do exercise, don’t forget to warm up before you start and cool down when you are done. Both will help minimize injury during your workouts.
- Keep your weight at a healthy level. Doing so will put a lot less stress on your knees, which can decrease the pain and even slow down the speed that the cartilage degenerates.
- The type of shoes you wear for everyday activities can impact how your knees feel.
- It’s okay to wear a knee brace or even use a cane to help you move. There may be a time where you are not at the point to have surgery but the pain is pretty intense. A brace or cane can help you get through that time.
- Medications can help with pain and swelling but they will not slow down the progression of the disease. The same holds true with corticosteroid injections, they will only provide temporary relief from the pain and swelling but will not reverse any degeneration. Ice and heat therapy can also help temporarily reduce symptoms.
Contact a knee doctor or physical therapist today to see how he or she can help you manage your knee pain.