By Maddy Lengyel, Physiotherapist
So your doctor diagnosed you with having knee pain from osteoarthritis. You’re experiencing pain, stiffness and maybe even swelling. And you aren’t quite sure what to do next.
What is Knee Pain from Osteoarthritis, and Why Does It Matter?
Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects more than 4 million Canadians, or 1 in 7 adults. According to the Arthritis Society, osteoarthritis is the “body’s failed attempt to repair damaged joint tissues.” This damage could be caused by a number of things – heavy workloads, the way your bones are joined, or even sport-related injuries.e
This pain can affect your ability to go about your day-to-day life, affect your work, or your ability to engage in recreational and leisure activities. While there is nothing we can do to cure osteoarthritis, there’s a lot physiotherapy can do to manage the symptoms you feel, and to slow the progression of the disease.
5 Ways Physiotherapy Can Help Reduce Knee Pain from Osteoarthritis
- Therapeutic exercise – This is exercise that’s been prescribed especially for you, by your therapist. Therapeutic exercise can increase strength, range of motion, and endurance. It can also improve your overall energy levels. b, c
- Functional exercise – This is exercise that helps you function, often by improving your balance and coordination. Functional exercise can help you: perform your day-to-day activities, perform your work duties, play your favourite sports, do your hobbies, and decrease your risk of falling and getting hurt.
- Pain management strategies – Your physiotherapist can teach your about chronic pain, and ways to minimize stress on your joints. They’re a great source of information on exercise. For instance, your therapist may challenge your beliefs that may discourage physical activity, highlight the ways exercise can improve your life, provide guidance on bracing, canes, walkers, or other tools to reduce pain.d
- Manual therapy – This means hands-on treatment. Hands-on treatment by a physiotherapist can reduce pain, improve function, and just help your body move better.a
- Social support – Your therapist listens hard to understand your pain! And in group classes for people with osteoarthritis, other participants can often relate to what you’re going through. In our clinic’s hip and knee classes, we provide a supportive environment and an opportunity to learn from each other and work towards common goals.f
While physiotherapy can help you manage your knee pain from osteoarthritis, there are many other benefits to physiotherapy including improved sleep, self-confidence and mood.
Want to learn more about how physiotherapy can help you? Call us for a free 15-minute phone consultation with one of our physiotherapists.
- Anwer, Shahnawaz, Ahmad Alghadir, Hamayun Zafar, and Jean-Michel Brismée. 2018. “Effects of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Physiotherapy 104 (3): 264–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.PHYSIO.2018.05.003.
- “Arthritis Exercices and Stretching - Staying Active | Arthritis Society.” n.d. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://arthritis.ca/support-education/online-learning/staying-active/getting-physical.
- Çolak, Tuğba Kuru, · Bahar Kavlak, · Onur Aydoğdu, · Emir Şahin, · Gönül Acar, İlkşan Demirbüken, Zübeyir Sarı, · İlker Çolak, Güven Bulut, and · M Gülden Polat. 2017. “The Effects of Therapeutic Exercises on Pain, Muscle Strength, Functional Capacity, Balance and Hemodynamic Parameters in Knee Osteoarthritis Patients: A Randomized Controlled Study of Supervised versus Home Exercises” 37: 399–407. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-016-3646-5.
- Hurley, Michael, Kelly Dickson, Rachel Hallett, Robert Grant, Hanan Hauari, Nicola Walsh, Claire Stansfield, and Sandy Oliver. 2018. “Exercise Interventions and Patient Beliefs for People with Hip, Knee or Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Mixed Methods Review.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018 (4). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010842.pub2.
- “Osteoarthritis - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatments | Arthritis Society.” n.d. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://arthritis.ca/about-arthritis/arthritis-types-(a-z)/types/osteoarthritis.
- “Social Support Linked to Improved Outcomes after Joint Replacement Surgery.” n.d. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.healio.com/news/rheumatology/20191023/social-support-linked-to-improved-outcomes-after-joint-replacement-surgery.