Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint diseases and is an expensive burden to health care across the globe. As a result there has been a push over the last 2 years to look at how non surgical management strategies can be improved.
As I discussed in my blog ‘Happy Knees’ (click here to read) an area where non surgical management has failed in the past is by addressing knee OA as a purely mechanical and structural entity and not addressing the complexities of osteoarthritis and the associated biopsychosocial factors.
Programs such as the GLA:D program in Europe and here in Melbourne have shown that incorporating education and general physical activity along side a physiotherapy monitored strengthening program have shown improvements in physical function as well as a reduction in pain medication and sick leave. (1)
At South Coast Physiotherapy we are now able to offer our own knee program specifically for OA knees in line with these findings. It is a 12 week program and is designed to be specific to each individual, incorporating education, strengthening and physical activity. Having the program supervised by a physiotherapist ensures that the intensity and dosage of both strength exercises and physical activity is correct.
The goals of this program are to promote self empowerment to each patient. By the end of the 12 weeks patients will have the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to manage their knee symptoms and pursue an active life. We will explore how their knee pain is a modifiable symptom driven by sensitized structures rather than damaged structures and is influenced by a variety of biopsychosocial factors.
It is not just people who are already experiencing OA related symptoms that would benefit from this program. Research shows a six fold increase in the likelihood of knee OA following knee injuries with the highest risk found after ACL injury, meniscal tear and intra articular fracture (2). Therefore implementing a knee specific program following a knee injury before any OA symptoms occur would be recommended. The earlier you address knee health the greater longevity you achieve.
Although non surgical options are generally recommended as the first line of treatment ultimately interventions, such as knee replacements, are sometimes inevitable and important for patients to maintain activity and a healthy lifestyle.
If you feel that you would benefit from our knee program then an initial appointment can be booked online or through reception.
1. Skou & Roos GLA:D evidence-based education and supervised neuromuscular exercise delivered by certified physiotherapists nationwide BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (2017)
2. Snoeker et al Risk of knee osteoarthritis after different types of knee injuries in young adults: a population based cohort study. BJSM