Knee replacements may not be the only answer

OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA) OF THE KNEE joint is a common complaint in the older population. It can cause pain and loss of function, especially with things like squatting, kneeling and walking on stairs which can become increasingly difficult.

Traditionally, total knee replacement has been the main treatment option for those with moderate to advanced arthritis. Recently however, there have been some studies showing that non-operative management of knee OA can be very successful in improving OA symptoms.

A program designed by your physiotherapist involving weight-bearing training for the whole lower limb can work to subtly change the way you move. Often weakness or tightness around the hip joint can have a large effect on movement patterns in the knee. This is especially the case in those with a knock-knee type of gait.

This program usually requires no special equipment and will take less than 5 minutes twice a day to complete. In conjunction with taping to help unload the painful structures in the knee (pictured), this program will help to build strength and endurance in the muscles around the knee and hip to help unload the painful joint.

The tape unloads the infrapatellar fat pad, which is a highly pain-sensitive structure at the front of the knee that is thought to be a large contributor to this sort of knee pain. Even for patients who go on to opt for a total knee replacement, this exercise program can act as a pre-hab to help increase the chances of a good outcome after surgery.

The physiotherapists at Maleny Physiotherapy will be able to help you manage your knee pain and possibly delay or avoid the need for a knee replacement.

For assessment and management of your knee pain, call Maleny Physiotherapy for an appointment with Tim or Mary on 5494 3911.

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