Once your medical professional has diagnosed your osteoarthritic condition, they will recommend the most effective treatment for your knee arthritis based on you and your lifestyle. They will consider your activity level, your age, the location and severity of your knee arthritis, as well as how long you have had it, the symptoms you experience and any other associated knee injuries. The therapy for a 34-year old athletic, working woman will not be the right treatment for a 75-year old retired man. Also, the treatment for a high energy, competitive or aggressive type-A personality, may not be suited to an easy going, relaxed and patient type-B personality.
There really isn't a cure for osteoarthritis. Generally the focus of treatment is to relieve and control your knee pain and inflammation, slow down your arthritis progression, minimize your knee joint damage and the risks of therapy, maximize your knee mobility and function, improve your muscle strength and control, prevent work disability, and improve or maintain your quality of life.
Conservative treatments are usually recommended in the beginning. However, as your arthritis progresses, treatments that once worked may no longer be effective. Surgical options are used if the conservative treatments fail, and your knee damage and pain severely interfere with your daily living. During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your knee area until your pain and inflammation settle.
The best way to manage your knee arthritis is to be one step ahead of the process, combining conventional practices and medicines with alternative treatments, joint protection, patient education, lifestyle changes if required, and self-management (diet, rest, exercise). The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results.
People with early osteoarthritis in the knee tend to have higher success rates than individuals with later onset, as their conditions are generally a result of trauma to healthy tissue rather than degeneration over the years. Scar tissue will often develop as a result of injuries once acute inflammation begins to decrease. As your damaged knee tissues heal this dead, fibrotic tissue will develop instead of forming brand new healthy tissue. This tissue adheres to your muscle fibers, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerves, and joints causing pain and preventing them from moving properly (this limits your range of motion, flexibility and strength).
To fight atrophy, you must continuously work on range of motion stretches for your knee. Modern medicine is often quite successful at pain suppression and this is truly a great gift - however, too many people only focus on suppressing pain symptoms while providing less attention to what is occurring in their knee joint. It is imperative - especially for someone suffering from a degenerative knee condition - to not overdo their "range of motion" stretches it just because there is no pain. To sum it up, pain suppression can be very helpful or it can negatively affect you if care is not taken.
A great example of a positive aspect of pain suppression is the ability to flex the knee joint and maintain (or even increase) the range of motion. Specific stretches and exercises prescribed by your physician or physical therapist are what your focus should be on, as these stretches are ones that are determined to be safe for you to do. As your stretching continues and your joint gains flexibility, the soft tissue in the joint is strengthened and your overall joint gains much needed stability. You are effectively fighting off atrophy - something that is imperative to avoid.
If you are new to range of motion stretches, you will often find that you will know (perhaps the next day) if you overdid it. The level of swelling, pain and inflammation will generally give you a good indication of this. If there is a little swelling and pain post-stretch, then after using a cold compress for a bit, it should disappear. If there is a LOT then you know you overdid it and for some people this becomes a value feedback system to the point where they can gauge how much stretching they can do the next time.
It is likely that you know what I am going to say. After possibly months of living with crippling pain in your knee, all of a sudden its gone! It's like a new lease on life, so you get out there and do some shopping or go on a hike. The next day, your knee is swollen up like a balloon and you find out that you strained your knee or tore a ligament. Now you don't just have osteoarthritis in your knee, but now your knee feels unstable and you aren't even sure you can put your weight on it. My point is that pain killers can be so powerful these days, you can tear your knee up and you won't even feel it. So, the rule is BE CAREFUL and don't overdo it when you can't feel pain. Passive stretching for joint flexibility is key; moderation is key to ensuring you don't tear up your knee when you are on pain suppressors.
This is why we recommend for people to continue with their doctor or therapist recommended exercises and to "warm up" their knee before stretching via treatments of the Knee TShellz Wrap®. When soft tissue in the knee is warmed up, it becomes more elastic and elongated - thus less likely to strain when undertaking stretching activity.
If you have already strained your knee, ongoing treatments of the Knee TShellz Wrap® to enhance circulation will soothe, relax and help promote a healthy recovery of damaged knee muscles and tendons. Knee T•Shellz treatments will allow your soft tissue to extend further due to the deep warming sensation created by the enhanced circulation to the treatment area. The more extensible your tissues are, the less likely they are to strain or sprain.
A huge number of people who contact us about knee pain are unsure about the true causes of their discomfort. It is an amazing statistic and really goes to show how important it is to get a proper diagnosis from your physician. To really deal with a injury, you have to know the injury is - so get to the doctor and find out.
People tell us all the time, "I was told that if I stay off my feet for a few weeks, my knee pain will disappear for good." The truth is, it is easy to let knee osteoarthritis pain keep you in bed or on the couch for a very long time. The problem is, if you keep your knee(s) inactive, atrophy will quickly compound the issue. As the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your knees and lower legs shorten and weaken, you will quickly find that your knee will feel unstable when you do use it; you will be much more likely to strain your knee or pull a calf muscle and your knee range of motion will be greatly reduced.
It may take weeks or months for atrophy issues to surface, but when they do, merely resting will not solve the underlying issues. You need to utilize options that will combat atrophy and keep your soft tissue flexible and healthy as possible - even though you are suffering from an arthritic condition.
Resting has a role to play, but it is only one small factor in a recovery plan.
In order to provide long lasting relief from your knee pain, you need to identify ALL the factors that are contributing to it. Osteoarthritis may be a part of it, but there may be other issues as well. These factors can include muscle imbalances, short leg syndrome, herniated discs, trauma and tightness to surrounding muscle and soft tissue, etc. The list is certainly significant and it can be frustrating for people who may have no idea where to begin. This is one of many reasons why you should always get to a physician and , in some cases, a specialist to identify the source of your problem.
Knee Osteoarthritis: Quick Links
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Learn more about Knee Surgery and Post-Surgery Recovery
Learn more about how the TShellz Wrap® stimulates blood flow.
Learn more about Ice vs Heat Treatments for Knee Strain
During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before using any of our outstanding products to make sure they are right for you and your condition or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. Always see your doctor for a proper diagnosis as there are often many injuries and conditions (some very serious) that could be the cause of your pain.
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