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September 2017
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Archive for the ‘About Knee Osteoarthritis’ Category

Knee Pain due to OA

Knee Osteoarthritis can have the following symptoms:

  • Pain – knee pain that increases during activity.  The pain can recede with rest.
  • Swelling
  • Warmth in the joint
  • Morning knee stiffness, or the knee may get stiff when sitting for a while
  • Mobility issues – it may be difficult to climb stairs, step up curbs, or get in and out of a car or chair
  • Cracking sounds when the knee bends


Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

Age is the most common cause of knee osteoarthritis.  Just about everyone will develop some degree of osteoarthritis as they get older.   But there are factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis earlier in life.

  • Age – the older you get get, the more brittle cartilage becomes.  It also is harder for cartilage to heal as you age.
  • Weight – The more you weigh, the more pressure you put on your knee joints.  Extra weight on your body means your knees have to work harder.
  • Heredity – Osteoarthritis can run in your family.
  • Injury – If you’ve had a knee injury you are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.
  • Gender – Women are more likely than men to develop knee OA.  It has to do with the shape of the hips.
  • Athletics – Athletes that engage in high-impact exercises over long periods of time can wear out their knees.
  • Other illnesses – Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and metabolic disorders can predispose people to osteoarthritis.



Knee Therapy

Knee Pain from OA


Osteoarthritis, is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis.  It is a condition where cartilage, the natural cushioning between your bones, erodes.  When this occurs, the bones of the joints rub against one another with less cartilage to absorb the shock. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and sometimes the formation of bone spurs.

There are many forms of arthritis – osteoarthritis is the most common.  Young people can get it, however the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45.   More than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis.  The knee is the most commonly affected area.  Also, osteoarthritis is more common in women than men.

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Ice Pack Wrap

December 14, 2016


Ice packs are an effective treatment option for knee osteoarthritis for several reasons.  Ice will decrease swelling in the knee.  Also, cold therapy will slow the release of chemicals within the body that cause pain and inflammation.  Cold also reduces that ability of nerve endings to conduct pain impulses.  Ice will also limit the ability of muscles to reduce spasms.

An ice pack wrap is an effective means of delivering cold therapy to an arthritic knee.

Joint Pain

                        Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis of the knee is the mechanical breakdown of knee cartilage.  Where rheumatoid arthritis is the chemical breakdown of cartilage, osteoarthritis is damage caused by long-term wear and tear.

Years of use causes the cartilage in the knee joint to wear away. As the cartilage wears away, the joint space narrows, and eventually the bones begin to rub together.  That’s what causes the knee pain.

Stretching, knee braces, weight loss, and strengthening the muscles around the knee are all effective, conservative treatment options for reducing knee pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.




Walking is Good Exercise

                    Walking is Good Exercise


It may seem counterintuitive.  If your knee hurts as a result of osteoarthritis, walking may help your knee feel better.  My grandmother used to tell me, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”.  I still believe her, more so now that whenever I wake up something hurts.

Walking helps stretch your muscles, lubricate your knee joint, and helps you lose weight.  All three of these benefits help control knee pain.  Tight muscles put undue stress on your knee joint.  Keeping the fluids moving in and out of your knee helps keep your anatomy healthy, and losing weight decreases the pressure on your knee joint.

So don’t give up.  One step at a time.  Make yourself better.


Seated Leg Extension

To rest the arthritic knee or not to rest, that is the question.  Knee pain can be tricky to diagnose.  The knee joint slides, glides, and rotates.  There are ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage….there’s a lot that can go wrong.  But for people with chronic knee osteoarthritis, they can usually tell if the knee pain is their “old friend” visiting or some new injury causing them to limp, shuffle, and creak as they walk.

If the knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, then don’t rest too much.  A healthy knee joint requires movement.  Bending the knee keeps the joint lubricated, and the surrounding musculature stretched and strong.  Resting is important for an acute injury, but for knee OA a low-impact exercise routine is important.

Inactivity can make knee pain worse because muscles become weak.  People with Knee OA need an exercise program that is safe for their knees.  And the exercise program needs to be consistent – a routine.  Your body needs to be used to moving.

Swimming, biking, and walking are great low-impact exercises that will get you sweating without beating on your knees.  Strengthen the muscles around your knee, keep them flexible, and your knee pain won’t be so bad.

Knee pain from high impact activities like running is a common symptom of osteoarthritis.

There are many symptoms which can help your doctor diagnose osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis of the knee is typically observed after patients complain of knee pain, joint stiffness, joint swelling, and pain with exercise or high activities.  Early detection is very important because osteoarthritis includes degeneration of cartilage, a joint tissue that heals very slowly.  If osteoarthritis can be diagnosed earlier, it may be possible to improve treatment outcomes and to delay or avoid surgical intervention.

Recent research published in the Biophysical Journal suggests that there may be a new way to diagnose osteoarthritis even earlier.  Since cartilage includes a high fluid content, scientists may be able to detect damage to cartilage by diagnosing the flow of fluids in the joint space.  Researchers were also able to determine that cartilage deficits caused by osteoarthritis were most visible during rapid compression of the joint.  In other words, damage to your knee from osteoarthritis should be most visible in high speed high impact activities.

So if you experience knee pain that is worst when you run, talk to your doctor.  We all hope that the pain will go away on its own, but the longer you wait before consulting a physician, the more damage can occur to your knee.  Every day that you delay treatment may eventually cost you.  Why risk it?

OA and Vitamin K

March 7, 2013

The vitamin K in these vegetables can reduce the risk and progression of osteoarthritis.

Vitamin K, commonly found in leafy green vegetables, may reduce your risk of osteoarthritis.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that vitamin K deficiency was positively associated with knee osteoarthritis.  These results validate long-held cultural beliefs that vegetables are good for your health, and quantify one specific way in which they may improve your quality of life.  This study simply identifies a correlation between vitamin K deficiency and osteoarthritis, but that does not mean that adding vitamin K to your diet cannot improve your health now.

In fact, an independent study by the Boston University School of Medicine found that patients who recieved Vitamin K exhibited decreased osteoarthritic symptoms.  Adding vitamin K reduces knee pain, and decreases the rate of joint degeneration.  It may even be possible that it will accelerate healing.

So before you take medication and before you risk surgery, why not try a simple dietary solution?  Adding these vegetables could make your pain more manageable.


OA and Plasma Therapy

February 26, 2013

Platelets used in plasma therapy speed up healing, and my be helpful in treating osteoarthritis.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been used by high-profile athletes for high-profile treatments.  PRP therapy works by taking a blood sample, isolating the platelets in the blood, and then injecting them back into the patient.  Platelets are an important part of the natural healing process, producing growth factors and forming blood clots to help close open wounds.  PRP therapy can reduce knee pain and improve function for patients with athletic or osteoarthritic injuries.

Recent research at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery supports the use of PRP therapy for patients with osteoarthritis.  In a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr. Brian Halpern evaluated the effectiveness of PRP therapy by objectively measuring the quality of patient’s cartilage with PRP treatment.  They found that after a single injection, there was no further damage to cartilage for the subsequent year.  Over that same time period, patients reported that their pain dropped to half of pre-treatment levels.

PRP therapy is a relatively new treatment, and may not be appropriate for everyone, but it might be right for you.  If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, and struggle with knee pain, ask your doctor about PRP treatment.  A single treatment might make the next year a whole lot easier.