Weight management to relieve stress on weight-bearing joints
Anti-inflammatory drugs for degenerative joint disorders
Synovectomy (surgical removal of inflamed synovial tissue)
Osteotomy (restructuring of the bones to shift stresses from diseased to more healthy
Partial knee replacements (unicompartmental knee - replaces only Total knee replacement
(used when severe osteoarthritis is present)
But a more conservative and less invasive treatment option is Physical Therapy.
Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 21 million people in the United States and is
characterized by mild to debilitating pain in the joints such as hands, knees, hips,
feet and back. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the disease is most prevalent
among individuals 45 years of age and older. Women are more prone to the disease.
The therapists at ARC Physical Therapy and Pain Center use physical therapy, manual
techniques, soft tissue massage to First: significantly reduce the pain, by treating
the swelling around various knee tendons and knee capsule. Second, increase the motion
in the joint, and Third: minimize the loss of muscle mass and knee stability by joint
and muscle exercises to improve strength and flexibility.
Modalities like ultra sound, ice, heat and medical acupuncture are used to loosen
up the muscle tissue and increase the blood flow to the injured area, and hereby
starting the healing process by providing access of nutrition and oxygen to the injured
by Jack Verhees PT
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis [not to be confused with rheumatoid arthritis] is also called degenerative
joint disease. It is not really a disease but more a degenerative process, which
causes joint cartilage to slowly break down. This breakdown removes the buffer [cartilage]
between bones, and the resulting bone against bone friction causes pain and eventual
loss of movement. Symptoms include joint pain or aching (often after exercise or
extended periods of pressure on weight-bearing joints) and limited or eventual loss
of range of motion.
The abovementioned cartilage is a living tissue that grows, breaks down, and repairs
itself on the joint surfaces to provide the smooth and friction free movement.
Under normal circumstances, the breakdown and repair [with the help of cells called
"chondrocytes"] will match each other, and therefore create a status quo, which will
result in a healthy joint.
But if there is an excess of biomechanical stress, the balance between breakdown
and repair is disturbed, and the chondrocytes will be unable to keep up with the
repair of the cumulative damage caused by the breakdown of the cartilage.
The result will be loss of density and elasticity and subsequent little cracks in
the cartilage. The end result of this process is called Osteoarthritis.
How do you get Osteoarthritis?
There is a wide array of factors that cause the development and progression of the
disease. But since it is basically an excess of wear and tear in the joint surfaces,
common risk factors include: