Written by Mohamad
Knee Osteoarthritis, what is it?
Have you ever heard someone say ‘My knee is bone on bone’ or ‘my knee has no cartilage left’? If
so, they are probably referring to a condition called Osteoarthritis – a condition where the
cushioning between the bones of the knee has been reduced due to normal age-related changes or
previous injuries 1. Injuries can include but are not limited to work and sporting injuries.
So how does aging and injuries lead to osteoarthritis?
Further, with injuries to the knee from sports such as tearing the
meniscus, ligament tears or injuries from a car accident or fall at work, the
chance of developing osteoarthritis increases as the quality/performance of the meniscus decreases.
The reduction of the ability of the meniscus to absorb and distribute force due to aging and injuries
leads to symptoms such as swelling of the knee, inability to fully bend and straighten the knee and
most commonly, pain within the knee.
What can be done you ask? A lot actually!
It has been proven by many studies that the best method to combat Osteoarthritis is exercise3.
Strengthening the muscles of the lower limb around the knee and the hip joint allows the muscles to
assist the meniscus in absorbing and distributing force4, thus reducing the stress between the bones
of the knee and reducing pain in the process. Further, reducing load through the knee joint such as
losing weight has also shown to have a great benefit. A reduction in weight means the meniscus
does not have to absorb as much force as it once previously had to, leading to a reduction in
irritation of the knee, swelling and pain. Further, if land-based activities and exercises are too difficult to complete, hydrotherapy has also
been shown to be very effective in treating osteoarthritis as it allows the patient to be more active
and strengthen their lower limbs, all while reducing the amount of stress being put on their knees5.
So, if you have osteoarthritis don’t despair, plenty can be done to help treat your aches and pains –
book a session with one of our physiotherapists today!
1 Mahajan A, Verma S, Tandon V. Osteoarthritis. J Assoc Physicians India. 2005 Jul;53:634-41. PMID: 16190135.
2 Martel-Pelletier, J. (1999). Pathophysiology of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and cartilage, 7(4), 371-373.
3 Skou, S., Pedersen, B., Abbott, J., Patterson, B. and Barton, C., 2018. Physical Activity and Exercise Therapy Benefit More
Than Just Symptoms and Impairments in People With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports
Physical Therapy, 48(6), pp.439-447.
4 Juhl C, Christensen R, Roos EM, Zhang W, Lund H. Impact of exercise type and dose on pain and disability in knee
osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014
Mar;66(3):622-36. doi: 10.1002/art.38290. PMID: 24574223.
5 Silva LE, Valim V, Pessanha AP, Oliveira LM, Myamoto S, Jones A, Natour J. Hydrotherapy versus conventional land-based
exercise for the management of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized clinical trial. Phys Ther. 2008
Jan;88(1):12-21. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20060040. Epub 2007 Nov 6. PMID: 17986497.