Healthy joints have a layer of cartilage lining the bone surfaces. Osteoarthritis occurs when this cartilage breaks down and the joint space becomes narrowed.
Osteoarthritis affects weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and spine. The pain may worsen after repetitive use (walking or standing), or after periods of inactivity (sitting or sleeping).
- Pain in the joint
- Stiffness or loss of motion
- “Creaking” in the joint
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Our knee rehabilitation program can often decrease or eliminate the pain caused by osteoarthritis. Many patients who think they need a knee replacement have been able to delay or avoid surgery with our rehabilitation program.
We have found that lack of motion makes the pain of osteoarthritis worse, so our rehabilitation program focuses on reducing the stiffness of the knee. We begin by working to improve the knee extension (straightening) motion first. Once movement in this direction is maximized, we shift our focus toward improving knee flexion (bending). Finally, some gentle strengthening exercises may be used. Patients are also educated about the use of cold and compression to reduce pain and swelling.
If the rehabilitation program does not bring adequate relief, knee replacement surgery is an option. Importantly, the improvements made during rehabilitation before surgery allow for a faster, easier recovery after surgery.