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Exercise To Reduce The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

“Why do I have Knee Pain?”  This is a common expression that most PT’s hear.  When there is knee pain, an individual will not exercise or do strenuous activity because they are uncomfortable.  Often, knee osteoarthritis becomes an excuse to become inactive, instead of a reason to engage in more activity.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive joint disorder that affects a percentage of adults over the age of 45, 37% being over the age of 65.  OA is the leading cause of disability, among noninstitutionalized adults, but with proper education and treatment, it does not need to be.  Nonsurgical OA management combines pharmacological (medication) treatments and physical therapy (PT) interventions.  Osteoarthritis treatments aim to reduce or control pain, improve physical function, prevent disability and enhance quality of life.  The aim of PT is to educate the person on OA and to provide the proper tools to manage the symptoms independently.

Current practice guidelines recommend that PT be delivered with a combination of interventions.  Interventions that empower patients to actively self-manage knee Osteoarthritis, and improve patient-centered outcomes, through aerobic, strength, and proprioception exercise; pain management modalities and/or medications, and mobility training.  Physical Therapy intervention will include education of OA and what to expect during treatment.  The therapist will also provide hands on stretching and massage for pain management to increase joint and improve daily function.  Lastly, PT will instruct in appropriate exercises that are easily replicated at home, or in the gym.

In conclusion, activity is the way to manage knee osteoarthritis and its symptoms.  Studies show that referral to rehabilitation, such as physical therapy, may be of benefit to those with, or at risk, of knee OA.  Common interventions that are employed by physical therapists are effective to improve physical function in people with OA.

Shannon Webb, PTA is a graduate from the Naugatuck Valley Community College Physical Therapist Assistant program.  She has worked in an outpatient orthopedic setting since 2011.  While in the PTA program, Shannon was involved in the Association on Women’s Health as a student representative.  Since graduation, Shannon has become the PTA Affairs Liaison for the CT chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.  Amity Physical Therapy was founded 13 years ago by Michael Dow MSPT and CEO/Clinical Director.  The practice has three offices:  Woodbridge, Hamden and Branford.  For more information and an evaluation call 203-389-4593 or visit amitypt.com.

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