What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when the cartilage between our bones
breaks down naturally, making it difficult to avoid as we age. Cartilage
is a hard but slippery tissue which serves as a cushion between the bones
of joints, allowing the bones to glide over one another. Cartilage also
absorbs shock from physical movements. When cartilage loss occurs, the
joint can deteriorate to the point of rubbing bone against bone. Changes
in structures around the joint (muscles and tendons), fluid accumulation,
and bony overgrowth (e.g., bone spurs) can develop, causing severe chronic
pain, loss of mobility, and disability.
There are six basic recommendations for knee osteoarthritis prevention:
1. MAINTAIN YOUR IDEAL BODY WEIGHT
It has been estimated that the force of three to six times a person's
body weight is exerted across the knee while walking. In other words,
being 10 pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by 30 to 60
pounds with each step taken. Losing weight will reduces the stress on
2. EXERCISE REGULARLY AND PARTICIPATE IN REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
For optimal joint health, it is recommended that people perform 30 minutes
of moderately strenuous exercise at least five days a week. Lower levels
of exercise can also be beneficial, according to study results. It's
better to get some exercise as opposed to no exercise.
3. PROTECT YOUR JOINTS
There are several joint protection principles, which if followed will help
conserve energy and preserve joint function. The advice is quite simple,
but you must be mindful of proper movements and recognize body signals
(e.g., pain). Good posture and proper body mechanics will protect your
joints, and is a factor in osteoarthritis prevention.
4. AVOID REPETITIVE STRESS ON THE JOINTS
Too many uninterrupted repetitions of an activity or motion, unnatural
or awkward motions, overexertion, incorrect posture, and muscle fatigue
all contribute to joint stress. These types of activities are usually
associated with your occupation, so try to find solutions at your workplace
and avoid prolonged periods of repetitive stress.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR PAIN
This recommendation seems so obvious, yet people don't always do it.
Learning to view pain as a signal that you are overdoing it and that it's
time to rest requires conscious effort. Balancing rest and activity is
optimal for healthy joints. It's part of self-management to learn
not to overuse your joints or push past your limits. Consider the pain
is like a stop sign.
6. AVOID INJURY TO JOINTS
Previous joint injury is recognized as a common cause of knee osteoarthritis.
In joints burdened by improper alignment due to injury, articular cartilage
wears away and osteoarthritis can begin to develop. Avoid injury if at
all possible - and if you do injure a joint, seek treatment immediately.
Studies support an appropriate exercise program as part of multidisciplinary
management of osteoarthritis. It's common for osteoarthritis patients
to have deficiencies in gait, range of motion, strength, and flexibility
- even endurance.
As part of a multidisciplinary approach, a healthy lifestyle focusing on
good nutrition and weight management is realistic. Educating yourself
about the role of diet and exercise and a consultation with your doctor
is a positive approach.
If you have questions or concerns about osteoarthritis of the knee, we
can assist with finding the right physician, treating your pain at our
hospital-based pain management center or developing an exercise plan with
our Health & Rehabilitation Team. From our pre-hab therapy team, pre-operative
education classes, highly-skilled surgical team, physical therapists,
and certified exercise physiologists, our trained orthopedic team has
the expertise and compassion to get you back on your feet again. Expect
Excellence, You deserve it! And at The Anderson Family Orthopedic &
Spine Center at Jupiter Medical Center, excellence is what you'll get.
Call 561-263-3633 to speak to our Patient Navigator about treatment.