Walking pain-free is very important to enjoy life. It helps you to do the best at work, play, and keep up with family activities. When you suffer from knee osteoarthritis, it limits your function and movement. Then you start looking for a way to get better and back to normal again.
When I was in 3rd-year college, I had a landlady who suffered from knee osteoarthritis. I was just starting my formal physical therapy subjects at that time. But I knew that exercising helps the knee. She asked me what to do, I told her, “You must exercise to make your knee strong and loose.” She started walking for 45 minutes from the house to their business office in the market. Every time she arrived back home, I asked her, and she was telling me, her pain went away. She said that her knee didn’t bother. Because I was the one who told her it works, I got the credit. I knew it. But I didn’t realize until a few years later why it works.
Cartilage: The Worn Out Shoe
If you walk through the streets, on a rough road, or snow, you wear your footwear. It protects your feet from getting hurt. But when that pair of shoes or sandal is worn out, the discomfort comes in. Later it begins to hurt and bother. Either you change the shoes or have it repaired.
Every long bone, such as the knee has a shoe-like structure. It is called cartilage. It is located at the end of the bone and makes a joint with the other bone. Like footwear, it can wear out! This wearing out may create an inflammatory reaction. Then, this initial damage causes a chain reaction to cause further breakage. Without attention, the bone later begins to be exposed and fall apart.
The pain is a signal! It gives you a hint that something terrible is going on. If you rely only on pills to take away the pain, you’ll soon destroy your knee! You take off the signal, but you didn’t correct the problem.
When the bones in the knee touch and rub each other, it becomes inflamed. The tissues surrounding it will be affected as well. That is knee osteoarthritis, which affects the bones, joints, and muscles.
The Risks To Having Knee Osteoarthritis
1. Old Age. The cause of knee osteoarthritis is not fully known. People think that you’ll have it as you age. But it is not necessarily the cause. You are just more vulnerable to having one.
2. Trauma to the joint can also be a risk to having knee OA because it destroys the tissues in the knee.
3. Weight Issue & The 4 Pound Rule
“As a rule, a pound of extra weight put 4 pounds pressure in the knee. Extra weight puts more stress in the knee that may lead to wear and tear.”
4. Overuse of joints may be also a factor in wear and tear of the joint.
5. Joint inflammation from any damages or diseases is a significant factor in getting knee OA.
You May Prevent Or Slow Down Arthritis
“Your body is like a car. You have to maintain and take care of it. You need to have a regular oil change and fine-tuning to prevents from breaking down. Then you can use it for a longer period.”
8 Secret Tips To Relieve Knee Osteoarthritis
1. The Secret Fluid
In my practice, most of my patients talk about their worn-out cartilage. But not the synovial fluid.
I believe that this is one of the most critical factors in preventing wear and tear. But it is little discussed and talk about. This is fluid in between the joint that serves three main purposes. First, it serves as a cushion. It fills the gap in between the joint to absorb the shock when bearing weight. Second, it reduces friction likened an oil in your car. Hence, less wear and tear. Can you imagine the bone on top of your knee floating before it touches the lower bone? Third, it helps to transport nutrient and waste in and out of the joint.
Many people who suffer from arthritis lose hope to get better. They think of either doing gel injection in the future or knee replacement.
“There is a remedy little understood. Change and fill up your joint with this fluid! The best way is exercise properly and eat healthy. Consult a good physical therapist to guide you what you need. Just bear in mind that even if your cartilage is worn out if there is plenty of fluid, it may still prevent the bones from rubbing.”
2. The Perfect Fit
Can you imagine a car or a wheel that is not in perfect alignment? Or a bolt and nut not perfectly fit? For some reason, it can happen to your knee! If the structures are not working correctly, it’s not congruent. When the muscles and tendons are not flexible, it is tight. If it is weak, it doesn’t move smoothly. This affects the fitting and accelerates wear and tear. The solution is to get expert help! Don’t experiment on your health. Look for a physical therapist.
The Q Angle. Many of you may have gone to doctors. But few knew the Q angle. This is an angled measured to determine your knee alignment. You may look online for what it is, but the best is to see a therapist.
3. The Spring!!!
The muscles in the knee act like a spring. It absorbs the shock when running, walking, and jumping. It helps to protect the knee.
You have to strengthen the core muscles in the knee to improve the efficiency of its work. There are special exercises to make it better. Again, that’s the job of a physical therapist!
4. The Flexible Knee.
The knees have a capsule, which fibers that wraps the knee and connects the two bones. When the knee begins to get inflamed, these fibers shrink and decrease the space in the joint. It prevents the synovial fluid from getting more room. It also increases the risk of bone grinding. Not mentioning the alignment.
The muscles and tendons should also be flexible.
5. The Proper Footwear
Good sneakers help to distribute the pressure from all weight-bearing joints. The shoes also take it away some the shock from the bones. Just imagine a car with a good spring but no rubber tires. A good pair of shoes is a must!
6. Trim Your Extra Fat
Managing your weight is very important in relieving knee osteoarthritis. The more you lose, the less pressure in your knee. Just imagine right now if you carry a backpack weighing 20lbs. That will put a lot of pressure on your knee. The reason you don’t feel that way when you gain weight is that, it’s gradual.
Losing weight is very tricky. I have seen patients and friends drastically lose weight and wasted their leg and thigh muscles. Be careful with your weight loss program. You may be losing more muscles and fluid but not the fat. That will weaken your knee and make joint pain worse! You have to make sure that you lose extra fat. Consult your nutritionist or weight loss expert. Don’t experiment!
7. Healthy Diet
My mom used to tell me, “The food you eat is what you are!” You may get better or worse with food. What you put in your mouth can make your joint pain worse! You have to choose healthy foods and minimize the junk ones.
8. Rest & Sleep
With daily works, the body cells wear and tear. Sleeping helps your body to recover and rebuild. When you’re properly rested, the body produces growth hormone, which is used by the body for healing and repair.
Health Is Wealth
Your health is essential. When you have body aches and pains, you have to avail expert care. You should always be in good condition.
“Physical therapists are here to help. They are the expert in body mechanics and movement. You have to look for the good one you can trust and help you attain the best you can be.”
All the best!