WINTER IS COMING…well, it is very much here and for many Osteoarthritis suffers, that means pain.
Many of you are dreading the winter season, worried about your knee flaring up. Our team of physiotherapists at INSYNC have noticed that a good number of patients had frequent aggravations of their knee Osteoarthritis during winter. We have decided to provide you with three easy tips to help you get through the cold season.
Osteoarthritis is the thinning of the cartilage that line the ends of your bones. The cartilage that is supposed to be smooth can become rough, and this may lead to pain and swelling. Allowing these symptoms to linger will add to the lack of participation in activity, acute flare-ups and loss of muscle size and strength, ultimately reducing your quality of life.
On the positive side, knee Osteoarthritis can be pain-free. Yes, that’s right! Knee Osteoarthritis symptoms can surface in the form of swelling, reduced movement in the knee and obviously increase in pain levels. When you get assessed thoroughly by a physiotherapist, they will be able to pick out what is restricting you, i.e. pain, swelling or restricted movement, or a combination of one or more. Targeting your main impairments will allow you to get moving, increase your tolerance levels and reduce your pain so that you can experience life as in a pain-free state.
Therefore our goal at Insync is to ensure that you can function and perform the activities you love with minimal to no pain at all.
Be sure to follow these 3 steps towards a pain-free winter:
Step 1 – Exercise, exercise, exercise.
The number one treatment for knee Osteoarthritis as proven by research is exercise. Some of the exercises for knee Osteoarthritis will be available through a video that will be posted up on this page very soon.
You are probably wondering how exercise helps with pain reduction. Well, strengthening exercises, especially for your quadriceps and glutes, can improve the stability of your knee motions, and promote even loading throughout the joint. Also, exercises may have an analgesic effect on the joints by increasing your pain tolerance. Some of the best exercises include cycling and swimming (all the non-impact exercises that your knees love).
Step 2 – Weight loss.
The less weight/pressure applied to the joint, the less pain you will experience. The fastest way to achieve weight loss is through eating healthy and engaging in regular exercise (cardio in particular). Therefore be sure to cut down on those carbs, and jump on the bike!
To achieve any goal, you must set up SMART objectives (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). For example “lose 2kg in 4 weeks”. You can monitor and record your weight regularly by creating a weekly/daily meal plan and stick to it.
Step 3 – Proper footwear/walking aids (e.g. cane).
If you have good support throughout your foot and ankle you are reducing the loading on your knee while walking. Our podiatrist has recommended neutral shoes such as Mizuno Waverideror or Brooks Glycerin for proper support. Also, using a walking stick when your knee is flaring up is also beneficial. Be sure to use the cane on the side of the good knee. This way, your weight is distributed between your knee and your stick.
Note: It is important to reduce your symptoms first via physiotherapy treatment before following tips 1 and 3. If you are struggling with knee pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with our team so that a proper assessment can be undertaken. Once the assessment is complete, our team will provide you with an individualised treatment program that will aim to alleviate your pain over the course of the winter season.
Fernandes, L. (2013). SP0018 Development of eular recommendations for non-pharmacological management of hip and knee osteoarthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 71. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-eular.1493
Be sure to contact our team of specialists as we are ready to help you with managing your knee osteoarthritis. We at Insync Physiotherapy have skilled and experienced physiotherapists on board and can provide excellent treatments and care. For any more information on the different types of services we provide, feel free to contact us on 02 9569 5145. You can also send us your queries via this online form.
Thanks for reading,
Insync Physiotherapy Team