Arthritis in the knee is known as osteoarthritis is an inflammatory disease that results in pain and stiffness in the knee. It is most common in people over the age of 50 and in those who have been very active throughout their lives. It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Staying active or playing sports from a young age can result in osteoarthritis when you get older! It’s almost unfair! However, osteoarthritis can be caused by overuse or degeneration of the joint in the knee.
The knee joint is created by the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone) with the patella (kneecap) in the middle. The bones have cartilage protecting them and the outer surface has a small membrane that creates a synovial fluid that helps to keep everything lubricated. When the synovial fluid decreases, the cartilage gets dry and it wears down to the point that now you have bone rubbing on bone. This can be quite painful and may also result in swelling and stiffening of the joint.
Is there an Arthritis Knee Treatment?
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, arthritis in the knee, there are many conservative treatment options that may be of benefit to help in everyday movement and function. It’s a paradox really – your knee hurts so it prevents you from wanting to move, but you need to move in order to make it feel better! Remember, motion is lotion and with regular movement, you can create a little more synovial fluid to help lubricate the joint.
- Wear good cushioning shoes. If you wear a shoe that has a lot of cushion this can help absorb some impact when you are walking or running. It is recommended though that you decrease the super high impact activities. For example, walking instead of running. If you want a more intense workout, add an incline to your walk. If you need or like more fast-paced cardio, try biking or swimming.
- Custom orthotics can help stabilize your body. If you have flat feet and do not have any support then you will see that your foot roll inwards when you walk. Imagine what that does to your calves, shins, knees, thighs, hips, and even your back. As your foot rolls inwards, your tibia (shin bone) also rolls inwards and your patella (kneecap) goes with it and rotates inward. This inward rotation of your foot causes an inward rotation of your knee and leads to more wear and tear of the knee joint. A custom foot orthotic will help to support your foot to prevent that inward rolling.
- Try a brace for extra support. If your knee hurts when you move around, wear a brace so that you can continue to move around. You will need to strengthen the muscles around your knee as well because the brace should only be used to get you to do your activity. Compression braces or custom off-loading braces may be effective for you depending on your assessment. See a Mobility on Mainway clinician in Burlington, Ontario for a full gait analysis.
Book an assessment with our Pedorthist or Athlete Therapist to determine the best knee brace for you and start taking the right steps to manage your knee arthritis.