Everyone has heard of and many have even experienced some of the symptoms associated with knee Osteoarthritis (OA). It is a disease that affects people all over the world and causes high levels of disability….. but it's not all bad news! Having all the right tools to be able to manage your osteoarthritis symptoms can help to manage pain and improve your overall function. In this blog i'll run through a few easy tips to be able to help you and your knee osteoarthritis.
- Resistance Training
When we hear ‘resistance training’ brains often flick to racking up a heavy bar and the gym and doing a million squats. When discussing OA this is not what we are talking about. Most resistance exercises for knee osteoarthritis start with an exercise program that can be performed with minimal equipment at home!
But why do we do it? Research is showing us that increasing the strength of your quads muscles with resistance exercises reduces knee pain caused from knee OA. Essentially… more strength, LESS PAIN!
This is one of the tips that I’m sure will confuse you from the outset. If I had a nickel for the number of times, I’ve heard the phrase “But running wears out your knees?!” … I would be a very rich man. Although not appropriate for every OA patient, running can help to improve your knee health and symptoms. In a recent study over a 10-year period, when comparing runners and non-runners, there was no change in imaging and even an improvement in pain in the running group.
By no means am I saying this is for every OA patient, but this shows us that running is not ALL bad. Loading the joint effectively, with good strength and control can actually be beneficial to the joint itself.
- Balance Exercises
Improving your balance and motor control can have a nice effect on your knee pain associated with OA. In some cases, it can be better at reducing pain than strength training. This also has a ‘double edged’ effect for OA patients. Often associated with OA is osteoporosis (A loss of bone density) or an increase in falls risk. Improving balance overall and helping to reduce your risk of falling is also very beneficial for your general health and injury prevention.
At the end of the day, beyond these methods of reducing your OA symptoms… Knowledge is power! It is essential that you as the patient understand your condition and have input into what you would like your rehabilitation to look like. Be sure to ask lots of questions to your Physiotherapist to help your rehab get started on the right foot!
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