Sports chiropractors are trained to assess, treat and manage knee osteoarthritis. Sports chiropractic focuses on improving following areas.
- Your knee impairments/problems (pain, stiffness etc.)
- Your activity tolerance (working, bending down etc.)
- Your ability to participate (carry the kids, stand at a concert etc.)
By working out specific goals with your sports chiropractor, a plan can be put together to best suit your needs.
Our sports chiropractor Chris Knee will talk about knee osteoarthritis.
What is knee osteoarthritis?
Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative process involving destruction of the cartilage of the knee. Because of this breakdown of cartilage, the bone under the cartilage thickens (subcondral bone) and the cover (synovial membrane) of the joint becomes inflamed (see above image).
Healthy joints have lots of space in the joints, however in some osteoarthritic knees there is joint space narrowing and the development of bone spurs (osteophytes).
It is important to note however, that not every case of knee osteoarthritis is the same. Some people have lots of knee pain and very little problems on X-ray and other people have lots of problems on x-rays and no pain at all. Therefore, it is best to have your knees properly assessed by a trained sports chiropractor as a treatment plan should not be determined from an X-ray alone.
Common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:
- Morning stiffness and tightness in the knee.
- Deep achy joint pain.
- Reduced range of motion of the knee.
- Tenderness / noisy joint when moving it / bony enlargement of the knee.
How does knee osteoarthritis occur?
Knee osteoarthritis is associated with
- High occupational or recreational loads (you work hard).
- Previous injury (post-traumatic osteoarthritis technically has its own label).
- Other risk factors include gender, age, and genetic components.
Who is affected by knee osteoarthritis?
Both males and females can get knee osteoarthritis. It is important to note that knee osteoarthritis was once thought of as a disease of old age. While age is certainly a risk factor, more and more ‘younger’ people are developing this condition.
Does knee osteoarthritis heal?
There is no cure to reverse knee osteoarthritis at this time. Patients who are willing to reduce their weight can expect excellent results. With the evidence suggesting that just a 15% reduction in weight can lead to a 50% reduction in knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.
How do sports chiropractors treat knee osteoarthritis?
Your sports chiropractor will focus on the following key treatment areas:
- Education on what knee osteoarthritis is and what to do about it.
- Remind you of the importance of weight management.
- A rehabilitation exercise plan is the most appropriate and important treatment that your sports chiropractor will give you. This is best completed with supervision in the initial phase of treatment. However you will have to do some ongoing homework (home exercises) to get the best results.
- Hands on treatment for pain and stiffness if appropriate.
- Other passive treatments such as massage, taping, bracing, and hot/cold therapies if appropriate.