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Archive for the ‘Physical Therapy’ Category


August 2, 2012

Getting enough sleep is important.

Knee osteoarthritis can be very painful and cause the knee joint to swell and become inflamed. Proper rest and relaxation is crucial to maintaining mobility and reducing pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. Sleep allows the body to recover and regenerate in order to reduce inflammation and heal the joints. A simple exercise routine combined with proper rest and recovery can be helpful in improving your overall knee health.

By maintaining a proper sleep schedule you can help your body recover faster and reduce overall pain and stiffness. You know your body better than anyone and if you feel sore or tired you might be in need of some recovery time in order to prevent injuries. We’re in the dog days of summer summer so make sure you have enough recovery time so you can enjoy the weather without knee pain.

Tens Unit


TENS Units or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units are often used by physical therapists.  Sometimes they are called TENS machines.  Regardless of what the nerve stimulators are named, they work the same way.  Electrodes are placed on the skin and an electrical current is used to stimulate the nerves within a certain section of your body.

Physical Therapists often incorporate nerve stimulation with TENS Units into their treatment programs for patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.  TENS units have been proven in scientific research to be an effective treatment option for knee pain.



Knee Taping Helps OA

December 30, 2011

Knee Taping

Knee taping is used by physical therapists in conjunction with exercise programs to treat osteoarthritis.  It is a simple process that most patients can learn for themselves.  It involves grabbing the patella (knee cap) and pulling into a comfortable position.

In a recent study it was shown that patients were likely to experience a reduction in knee pain when their knees were taped as compared to a non-taped group of patients.  Even patients who did not experience knee cap pain reported that their knees felt better when taped.


Balance Board

Coordination and balance are important aspects of a physical therapy treatment program for knee pain related to arthritis.

Physical therapists will often work with their patients in practicing their activities of daily living, like how to get in and out of a car, or how to pick something up from the floor.  It is believed that practicing the simple aspects of daily life will build a patient’s confidence so they can accomplish higher degrees of activity and exercise.

Simple balance board exercises can not only make activities of daily living easier, but also help improve muscle strength, physical performance, and knee function.


Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is often used by physical therapists and physiotherapists as part of their treatment programs to combat knee OA.  It consists of passive leg movements used to increase the knee joint’s range of motion or to reduce knee stiffness.

Simply bending the knee, stretching, and massage are examples of manual therapy.    Just gliding one joint surface over another can be helpful.  Recent studies prove this type of therapy can be beneficial, especially for someone with knee OA because there may be several issues causing the knee pain.



My knee hurts too much to exercise.  This is a common catch-22 for people suffering with knee osteoarthritis.

Some people with OA in their knees have to deal with a host of painful issues: limited range-of-motion, knee pain, stiffness, functional difficulties, and sensory abnormalities.  These knee problems often prevent people with OA from exercising.

Physical therapists are trained to design treatment programs to overcome these obstacles and help people with osteoarthritis achieve the best results possible from an exercise or physical activity program.

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.

This is a continuation of our series on the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis published in the Journal of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

Physical Therapy Helps Knee OA

Physical Therapy Helps Knee OA

Recommendation IV

Physical Therapy may help patients with symptomatic hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Physical therapists will evaluate patients and instruct them on appropriate exercises to increase function and decrease pain in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis.

This recommendation is based mostly on expert opinion.  Referrals for physical therapy were recommended by 100% of the research team.  However three randomized clinical trials also supported referrals to physical therapy as an effective osteoarthritis treatment option.

The research team gave this treatment option a Strength of Recommendation score of 89%.

W. Zhang Ph.D., Moskowitz M.D., et al. OARSI recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Part II: OARSI evidence-based, expert consensus guidelines. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. (2008) 16, 137-162.

PT for OA

Physical Therapy has been proven to relieve pain and stiffness as effectively as knee surgery.  A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine can be added to the laundry list of science that supports physical therapy has an effective osteoarthritis treatment.

Physical Therapy will generally provide a series of exercises to help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.  Patients learn how to take care of their entire body in relation to their arthritic knee so they can minimize symptoms and perform activities of daily living with less pain.

Kirkley, BIrmingham, Litchfied, et al: A Randomized Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for OSteoarthritis of the Knee.  New England Journal of Medicine, 2008.  Vol 359: 1097-1107.