What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis or arthritis of the knee is the most common arthritis diagnosis in older populations. It is also known as the ‘wear-and-tear’ degenerative disease that happens to people 50 years and older, but we are now seeing similar cases in younger populations as well. What happens in osteoarthritis is that the cartilage that is present in the knee joint starts to gradually fade away and become weal. It becomes rough and causes friction between the bones and causes the bones to rub on each other causing joint pain and discomfort. Usually, the treatment for osteoarthritis is pain medication and physiotherapy for knee pain, and in some rare conditions- surgical intervention. Osteoarthritis is a slowly advancing disease that gets worse over time with age and further wears and tear due to the growth of bone spurs.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Everybody has their unique experience with osteoarthritis and their unique recovery journey. Depending on age, genetic factors, and occupation, everyone has a different treatment path whether it is physiotherapy for knee pain, surgery, or other forms of therapies. However, these are some of the most common symptoms that occur with osteoarthritis. 

  • Joint pain that hurts and interferes with your normal movement and range of motion. 
  • Joint stiffness is extremely intense after you wake up or spend time inactive. 
  • The affected area is sensitive to touch and might start getting agitated even after a light touch 
  • You might hear popping and crackling when moving your knee also known as a grating sensation. 
  • Abnormal growth in your bone known as bone spurs can form near the affected joint that feels like hard lumps. 
  • Redness and swelling near your joints due to soft tissue inflammation. 
  • Loss of range of motion and feeling of inflexibility.

Also Read: Knee Stiffness – Causes, Treatment and Exercises

Osteoarthritis Physiotherapy Exercises

The great thing about physiotherapy for knee pain is that it works to remove the problem from its root. Through a set of physiotherapy exercises for knee pain, manual therapies, electrotherapy, and movement manipulation, physiotherapy for the knee helps to manage your short-term painful symptoms and helps keep your painful symptoms at bay.

Here are some exercises that are easy to perform anywhere and can help you keep your painful symptoms under control:

Hamstring stretch

When it comes to stretching, it is one of the most helpful exercises and movements that help you stay flexible and improve your range of motion. It is a perfectly safe way for beginners to start their exercise routines and is a great way for your muscles to recover after a workout. So if you come home after a long walk, or a workout session it is always recommended that you stretch. To perform a hamstring, you need to-

  • Lie down and relax your muscles 
  • Then with a resistance band, or a soft bed sheet loop it around the right foot and help pull the leg up straight
  • Hold in this position for 30 seconds and then lower your leg and then switch
  • Repeat twice on each leg and repeat the motion.

Lower leg Stretch

A great stretch for the knee is to make sure that you are making use of the entire leg when performing this stretch. Follow these steps- 

  • Find a chair and use that for balance. 
  • Holding on to the chair, bend the right leg and step back with the left. 
  • Now, slowly the left leg behind you while pressing the left heel towards the floor. 
  • While doing this, you should feel a stretch in the lower back of your leg or the calf of the back leg. 
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds and then repeat again, after which you can switch legs. 
  • To increase the intensity, you can go in for a deeper stretch but make sure that your knee doesn’t go past your toe.

Leg Raise

One of the most efficient treatments for arthritis is muscle strengthening. It is truly one of the best ways to help keep the painful symptoms at bay and act as a preventative measure against arthritis. It also helps support the weak joints. To perform this stretch follow these steps- 

  • Lie down on your yoga mat with the body supported by elbows. 
  • In this position, try bending your right knee with your foot on the floor. 
  • Keeping the left leg straight and toes pointed up, tighten this thigh muscle and raise your left leg.
  • Hold this position for a couple of seconds, and make sure you are clenching your thigh muscles and lowering your leg to the ground. 
  • Try to finish 10 reps on both sides, and be sure to switch between legs after every set. 

Quad Squeeze

Sometimes patients find it very difficult to perform the leg raise, but that should not stop you from getting a good stretch and exercise. Therefore performing this quad squeeze tp still reap the benefits of physiotherapy for knee pain- 

  • Lie down, or sit straight with your legs stretched out. 
  • Next, tighten the thigh muscles or quadriceps. 
  • Flex and hold the muscles taut for 7 seconds and then relax for 15. Repeat this 10 times and then switch.

Hip Raise

Core strength is essential to keep your knee health in check. It is important to strengthen your hips and thighs and can improve your daily functioning and extend your compromised range of motion. To perform this exercise, follow these steps- 

  • Sit up straight, with your back straight and shoulders rolled back.
  • Then, proceed by kicking your left foot back while keeping the toes on the floor. 
  • Next, with your right knee bent, lift the right foot off.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds and then gently lower the foot to the ground. 
  • Repeat 10 times and then switch.
  • If you feel pain lifting, then continue this exercise by lifting your legs with your hands.

Inner Thigh Squeeze

This is a great strengthening exercise for your entire leg and knee. This strengthens the muscles of your knee and the entire leg that support the knee. Use a pillow or a light object to perform this exercise. Follow these steps- 

  • Lie down on your back on a yoga mat and keep the knees bent.
  • Now place a light and soft object like a pillow. 
  • Now squish this pillow between the knee and hold for 5 seconds. 
  • Repeat this 10 times and switch to your other leg.

Also Read: Benefits of RA Physical Therapy for Joint Health

For more information about knee arthritis and physiotherapy for knee pain, head on to Phyt Health, India’s first digital physiotherapy platform offering online physiotherapy services and consultations. With a wealth of knee exercises present on their website, you can include them in your daily life depending on your comfort level. All these exercises are curated by expert physiotherapists at Phyt Health. You can also book your online video consultation on the app, to discuss any issues you might be facing and begin your journey towards recovery!