Knee osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, which cushions and protects the ends of bones in your knee joint. Cartilage breakdown causes pain, stiffness and swelling in your knee, thus creating the need for knee osteoarthritis physical therapy.
Treatment for knee osteoarthritis may include medications, physical therapy and surgery. Knee osteoarthritis physical therapy can help you reduce pain, improve joint mobility and prevent further damage to your knee. It’s an important part of treatment for many people, especially those with mild symptoms.
Physical therapy options for knee osteoarthritis include:
- A therapeutic exercise plan
The basic goal of therapeutic exercise is to help improve mobility, strength and balance. This can help relieve some of the pain, while also preventing deformities in the joints. A physical therapist can design programs specifically for your condition.
- Electrical stimulation
This technique promotes healing by stimulating blood flow to the affected area. After an injury, electrical stimulation has been shown to reduce pain and swelling and speed up recovery. During rehabilitation, this treatment can also reduce the risk of further injury.
- Heat and cold therapies
Heat or cold packs can also reduce inflammation at home. The application of a heat pack followed by the application of an ice pack may be more beneficial than each applied alone.
- Manual therapy
Physical therapists manipulate your soft tissue with their hands to treat you. The practitioner may use constant pressure or stretching to relieve muscle spasms and increase blood flow.
- Range-of-motion exercises
Many people with arthritis find that range-of-motion exercises help relieve the pain in their joints and increase mobility and flexibility. Range-of-motion exercises are easy for many people to perform and do not typically require any special equipment.
- Strength training
Strengthening exercises can help muscles around the affected joint area and ligaments become stronger over time. This can help stabilize bones and reduce strain on the affected joint area. Exercises can be done with weights, stretch bands or resistance machines.
The great thing about strength training is it can be done at home in addition to in your PT sessions.
Learn more about physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis at Armor PT
A variety of treatment options exist for knee osteoarthritis, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, our Armor Physical Therapy team can help you find the right combination of rest, exercise and other management options so you can find relief from arthritis pain.
Contact us today to set up your initial appointment to have your knee evaluated by one of our experienced physical therapists.