Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. It occurs as a result of the general wear and tear of the protective cartilage in joints, with one of the most commonly affected areas being knee joints. Due to the “wear and tear” aspect of the condition, the likelihood of suffering from it increases with age, however there are a growing number of cases of younger patients with advanced knee arthitis. This increase is largely due to osteoarthritis being brought on by sports injuries.

If the condition becomes unbearable and life-altering, then replacement knee surgery can be the solution. However, all surgery comes with a degree of risk, so anything you can do to avoid this route is a sensible idea.

Here are our top tips for reducing the risk of replacement knee surgery:

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra weight can put unecessary extra pressure on the knee joints and increase your chance of developing osteoarthritis. Every 5lb of weight you lose is the equivalent of 20lb less pressure on the knee. Also, being a healthy weight will mean that if you do require knee surgery at some point you will reduce the risk of complications and speed your recovery.

Exercise
Exercise which strengthens your thigh muscles will help to support the knee joints and reduce your risk of osteoarthritis. Low impact exercising is best so swimming, cycling and pilates are all ideal. Make sure you warm up before beginning any exercise and do lots of stretching afterwards – this decreases tension in your tendons and relieves pressure on the knees.

Wear Correctly Fitting Shoes
Sensible shoes will help you to maintain correct leg alignment and balance, which reduces the risk of knee injuries.

Take Dietary Supplements
There are a number of dietary supplments, including glucosamine and chondroitin, which have been proven to reduce knee pain and inflammation and encourage healthy cartilage.

Medication
You may be prescribed medication by your GP to ease pain and decrease inflammation. There are also some over-the-counter medications which can be taken to help with knee pain, however neither of these options provide a long term solution.

Injections
There are several injejction based treatments available; Corticosteroid injections can be used to alleviate knee pain, Hyaluronic acid injections reduce inflammation and supplement the naturally occuring lubricant lacking in the joints of osteoarthirits sufferers, and Platelet-rich plasma injections can be effective when it comes to healing sports injuries.

Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy can be an extremely effective treatment for knee pain and an excellent alternative to surgery. Our experienced Physiotherapists use massage to alleviate pain and increase flexibility in the joints. They also use Ultrasound treatment to reduce inflammation and encourage the regeneration of cartilage cells.

To book an appointment or for further information on how Physiotherapy can help to reduce your knee pain, please contact Elizabeth Webster Physiotherapy on 01423 884162 ir email info@elizabethwebster.co.uk