Knee osteoarthritis is a common condition, especially as we get older. But there are a lot of misconceptions around it and health practitioners need to do a better job of explaining it to patients. The following is what we would like you to know:
Language is important
Many people have had the experience of getting an x-ray or MRI of their knee and being told there is "bone on bone", "wear and tear", or "degeneration". These descriptions are an attempt to simply an explanation, but they are not accurate and definitely not helpful!
Knees can have signs of osteoarthritis on imaging, yet be functional and completely pain free.
Osteoarthritis does not mean you will need a knee replacement
While surgery can be a good solution in the most severe cases, for most people a more conservative approach will lead to good results.
Improving the strength, mobility and balance around your knee can help to reduce or resolve pain and help you to return to the activities you love, whether that be walking to the shops, ball sports, gardening, or running.
Exercise is the best medicine
Many people are either told to stop exercise or sports, or decide to themselves, but this can increase the decline of your knee as muscles become weaker from not being used.
A better approach is to scale back your exercise if your knee is acutely painful and train with alternate exercises that can help to get your knee back on track. This doesn't have to be at a gym, and doesn't have to take a long time! Simple exercises performed at home with minimal equipment can get the job done. Many times people can return to the activities they were doing before the pain began.
Of course there is no one size fits all plan. It requires an individual approach centred around you and the activities you would like to get back to. So if knee pain is stopping you from everyday activities, book an appointment to discuss your goals, and develop a plan to get there.