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Archive for June, 2011

Stride-OA-Knee-Brace

Instant pain relief.  Ask any certified orthotist and they will say the same thing.  The majority of patients who try on a knee brace for osteoarthritis will experience an immediate reduction in pain.  The three point pressure system acts like a fulcrum.  It is a biomechanical solution to a biomechanical problem.

These are prescription orthopedic devices that need to be measured for and fit by a certified orthotist.  Sometimes these braces are fit by sales representatives, sometimes they are fit by athletic trainers, physical therapists, and even cast technicians.  DO NOT LET AN UNCERTIFIED PERSON FIT THESE DEVICES ON YOUR LEG.  Just because a person is a health care provider does not mean they are certified to fit knee braces for osteoarthrits.  These knee braces do a lot of work, if applied incorrectly a knee brace for osteoarthritis can do more harm than good.

These knee braces work.  They work best when prescribed by a physician, and measured and fit for by a certified practitioner.



Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement

When you run out of treatment options for your knee osteoarthritis the time may come for you to have your knee replaced.  This surgery involves removing your knee and replacing it with prosthetic components.  The bottom of your femur, your knee cap, and the top of your tibia will all be cut out.

Some reasons for having your knee replaced are listed below:

  • Severe knee pain while walking or standing
  • Knee pain while resting either or day or night
  • Chronic knee swelling
  • Knee deformity
  • Knee stiffness
  • Failure to obtain pain relief from other treatment options
  • Inability to take medications


Hamstring Curl

Hamstring Curl

Doctors and physical therapists both agree that increasing the strength of the anatomy surrounding your knee arthritis will help improve function and decrease pain.  The hamstrings are an important part of that anatomy.  Keeping your hamstrings loose and strong will help a lot!

One way to strengthen your hamstrings is with a hamstring curl.  These exercises can be performed with weights, an exercise ball or with a large elastic strap.  Check with your doctor or therapist to see if including hamstring curls in your strength training regiment is right for you.



Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is a proven treatment option for knee osteoarthritis.  It will help you move more easily and perform everyday tasks.  Physical therapy can help you gain mobility after surgery or help prevent it.

Physical therapists work in a variety of setting and with a wide range of patients.  They examine and diagnose each patient with the goal of helping them to move, reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further injury.  A therapist’s management plan for knee osteoarthritis will usually involve a series of exercises designed to strengthen the anatomy surrounding your knee.  They will help your muscles get strong and stay loose.



High Tibial Osteotomy

High Tibial Osteotomy

A high tibial osteotomy (HTO) is a surgical procedure used to treat knee osteoarthritis.  During the surgery a wedge-shaped bone is removed from the lower-leg.  This changes the angle of the knee joint and relieves pain.

You will be treated with intravenous medications immediately following surgery.  This will help reduce the chance of getting an infection from the hospital, help reduce the risk of blood clots, and help with the pain.  Expect to be in the hospital up to one week on the high side.

Once you get home crutches, a cane, or a walker will be required for about one month.  You will be able to put some weight on your leg, but how much and when will be up to your doctor.  Physical therapy will also be prescribed and required.

Most HTO’s are successful.  Make sure to ask your doctor for a detailed recovery plan so you will know exactly how long you will be off your feet.    Patients who have a high tibial osteotomy will experience swelling for 3 to six months.



Lifestyle Modification

Lifestyle Modification

You get out of life exactly what you put into it.  If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis you may not need drugs, injections or surgery.  You may need to change your lifestyle.  How many times have your doctors told you to eat better and exercise more?

If your lifestyle is causing you pain by being overweight or not exercising enough, then change it.  Go for a walk.  Eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Stop with the fast food.  Curing knee pain can be as simple as losing weight and exercising more.  In the end the choice to live with or without knee pain is up to you.



Lateral Heel Wedge

Lateral Heel Wedge

A study published in International Orthopaedics treated sixty-two patients with medial compartmental osteoarthritis of the knee with lateral heel wedges.  These patients were followed for twelve years.  The study, authored by H. Tohyama, showed that patients treated with lateral heel wedges had a greater improvement in pain and walking ability.  Tohyama concluded that lateral heel wedges are useful for patients with early onset of medial compartment osteoarthritis as long as patients are provided with an understanding of the indications and orthotic limitations.



Cosamin_ds

Cosamin_ds

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) published guidelines for knee osteoarthritis. These guidelines confirmed that Glucosamine has an excellent safety profile. Glucosamine is classified as a dietary supplement in the United States.

This means that safety and formulation are solely the responsibility of the manufacturer. There aren’t any government guidelines dictating how Glucosamine is processed and manufactured. Evidence of safety and efficacy is only required if the Glucosamine is being advertised as a treatment for a medical condition.

Even though they are not required to, Nutramax follows the same stringent standards and protocols practiced by the pharmaceutical industry. They manufacture their products like pharmaceuticals, not supplements.



Cosamin-DS

Cosamin-DS

Glucosamine is an amino sugar or building block molecule produced by the body for the production of structures important to cartilage and joint health. These structures are called proteoglycans. Glucosamine helps proteoglycans.

Taken orally, supplemental glucosamine can reduce pain, improve function, and enhance quality of life in as little as eight weeks.  It can absolutely help your knee osteoarthritis.

People have been taking Glucosamine safely for over 20 years. Clinical studies since the early 1980s consistently report that glucosamine is safe. However there are a few considerations:

  • Glucosamine is usually derived from shellfish.  Those allergic should avoid it.
  • Diabetics can experience changes in their insulin levels with glucosamine, even though the body cannot convert glucosamine into glucose.  In diabetics many factors can lead to fluctuations with insulin levels, so it important to check with your doctor before taking the joint health supplement.
  • Pregnant women should avoid glucosamine.




Swimming

Swimming

Exercise is an important treatment option for knee osteoarthritis.  And swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that you can do even when your knees are hurting.  However swimming laps can get boring.  If you are tired of swimming on your own then it may be time to join and adult aquatic fitness program.  Most YMCA’s have masters programs that can help improve stroke mechanics, training techniques, and setting and maintaining fitness goals.

If you are not interested in joining a group then look to build a workout so that you are not just swimming lap after lap.  Mix up your routine with a kick-board, hypoxic breathing exercises, and variations of strokes.