The knee is one of the most important joints in your body. But like other joints and muscles, it could also experience painful conditions when not taken care of properly. One of these common conditions, called knee osteoarthritis, involves the erosion of the articular cartilage. 

Knee osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, occurs because of erosion to the articular cartilage, sclerosis of bone underneath cartilage, and formation of osteophytes/bone spurs. The bones of the joints start to rub more closely against one another without the cartilage absorbing shock. While this knee pain is more common amongst older adults, younger people have also been diagnosed with it. 

There are various ways to treat knee osteoarthritis, one of them being physical therapy treatment, which has been proven effective at alleviating knee pain and restoring it to good health. At Cawley Physical Therapy, we can help you get relief from knee osteoarthritis and other issues that can be causing knee pain.

What Parts of the Knee are Affected by Osteoarthritis?

Various muscles and structures are impacted when you experience knee osteoarthritis.  These include the patella, or the kneecap, patella tendon, cartilage, quadriceps, hamstrings, patellofemoral joint, iliotibial band, and synovium. But the most common areas in the knee where osteoarthritis occurs is found in the tibia, or the shin bone, femur, also known as the thigh bone, and the patella. Osteoarthritis is likely to happen in these three places because the articular cartilage covers all three of these knee structures. It covers the top of the tibia, the bottom of the femur, and the back of the patella. The condition then starts to wear away the cartilage in these areas of the knee. 

Clinical Criteria of Knee Osteoarthritis

While the typical age group that experiences this knee pain is between the ages of 45-65 years old, it’s essential to know that younger people could also get it. Women within this age group are more likely to be diagnosed than men. For some people, it could be hereditary. It could also develop when you have experienced a history of knee injury in the past. This situation is quite common amongst most athletes or active people who use their knees often. The meniscus, thin, rubbery cartilage acting as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone, is another common knee structure often damaged amongst basketball athletes. Knee osteoarthritis could also result in infection of the knee or from being obese. Morning stiffness and crepitus, which is the cracking and popping of the knee joint, are also common signs of knee osteoarthritis.

Common Symptoms

Besides crepitus and morning stiffness, there are several other symptoms that knee osteoarthritis can cause. Some of these inhibit your ability to use your knee in everyday activities. 

These activities include:

  • Getting in or out of chairs or cars.
  • Walking up and down the stairs.
  • Walking in the house or outside.
  • Prolong sitting.
  • Difficulty exercising.

The pain of having knee osteoarthritis is described as a sharp, shooting, aching, and burning sensation. Knee swelling and warmth of the joint are other symptoms to watch for in this condition.

In addition to osteoarthritis, the knee could undergo damage from other conditions such as knee bursitis and knee tendonitis. The bursa in the knee is inflamed in the bursitis condition. The patellar tendon is sharply impacted by knee tendonitis.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

There are various options for treating your knee pain, like prescribed medications or surgery. However, another form of treatment that has been proven to be effective at treating conditions like knee osteoarthritis is physical therapy.

A physical therapy treatment consists of a wide program of activities, including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, aerobic conditioning, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, transcutaneous electrical stimulation, aquatic therapy, laser therapy, cold pack, and moist hot pack. A physical therapist will work with you in developing a plan that fits your overall needs and identify possible impairments to prevent any future injuries or occurrences with preventive physical therapy in NEPA

Get Physical Therapy for Knee Pain Today

Knee pain from knee osteoarthritis can be difficult to deal with and make it hard to get through the day, but physical therapy can make a big difference. Our physical therapists at Cawley Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation have years of experience treating conditions such as knee osteoarthritis. If you’re experiencing knee pain, don’t let it go untreated.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to see a physical therapist in NEPA for your knee pain.