Yes, osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee stiffness and pain, especially in people over 50.
No, arthritic knees don’t have to keep you from doing the things you enjoy!
Knee pain often creates a vicious cycle: It hurts, so you don’t want to move. › You avoid exercise. › Lack of movement causes muscle atrophy, stiffness and reduced range of motion, which causes more pain.
“Sometimes for patients that have knee pain for a long time just breaking that cycle of pain is enough to give them a good start,” says Omar Garcia, MD, MPH, a doctor of occupational medicine with Strive Pain & Spine Center. After more than 20 years of treating patients with arthritic knees, Dr. Garcia has found that a three-part combination therapy can provide relief for most of his patients. When used in combination, Dr. Garcia says, viscosupplementation, physical therapy and a specialty knee brace allow most patients to resume the activities they enjoy. “The chances of being able to increase your activities and have a better lifestyle are very high, more than 90 percent,” Dr. Garcia says. By increasing their activities and being able to do more of the things they want to do, he says patients also increase their general health.
What Is Viscosupplementation?
“It’s using hyaluronic acid in a concentrated way to improve the health of the joint and mediate pain,” Dr. Garcia explains. Hyaluronic acid is the lubricant in your knee that helps the joint move smoothly. People with osteoarthritis usually have a decreased amount, which doctors can supplement with a quick and fairly painless injection with a small needle. Dr. Garcia usually recommends an injection once a week for five weeks, which gives most patients relief for a year or more.
Why Physical Therapy?
“Movement is excellent,” Dr. Garcia says. “The formula for arthritis in the lower extremities is increase movement but decrease weight bearing. Movement stimulates the fluid in the joints.” Dr. Garcia says physical therapy is what breaks the vicious cycle of pain and lack of movement and gets patients “going in a good direction.”
Strive! Pain & Spine Center offers a whole range of therapies, from steroid injections to PRP (platelet-rich plasma) and visceral stem cell therapy as well as convenient onsite physical therapy. Click here to schedule a free consultation or call 352-690-7777.