Can physical therapy help treat knee osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a serious condition. While it can affect many regions of the body, osteoarthritis in the knee can be an especially major issue. Arthritis tends to be a hindrance when it comes to engaging in daily activities. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include knee pain, stiffness, tenderness and swelling. Are you currently considering your knee osteoarthritis treatment options? If so, you may wonder whether physical therapy can help you. The answer is yes. Specialized physical therapy treatments can be effective in knee osteoarthritis management. This can empower you to focus on enjoying life without worrying about worsening symptoms.


Before learning more about physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis, it can help to learn more about the condition itself. Arthritis refers to multiple conditions that involve joint irritation and swelling. Different kinds of arthritis can have different symptoms and causes. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage around the joints degenerates. This degeneration leads to more friction between the joints. Without protective cartilage, your joints may become inflamed as they rub against bone. For people with arthritis in the knee, symptoms like joint pain and stiffness are common; fortunately, relief is possible. Physical therapists can help you manage your condition. PT integrates a variety of techniques and treatments to deliver an optimal outcome.


Ways physical therapy can help treat knee osteoarthritis

  • Pain management exercises — Pain management is likely a top priority for people with knee osteoarthritis. With physical therapy, you can discover ways to manage your pain through exercise. Your physical therapist will design an exercise program tailored to your condition and needs. The exercises involved in osteoarthritis treatment typically focus on building muscle strength. By strengthening the muscles around your knee, you can give your knee joint more support and reduce joint pressure. Your treatment plan may also incorporate flexibility exercises. Enhancing joint support and promoting overall knee health through exercises is important. This kind of treatment can go a long way in managing your arthritis symptoms. With a range of benefits, exercises are a core element of physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis.

  • Joint mobilization — Looking for a hands-on treatment? Joint mobilization is a kind of manual therapy often used for knee osteoarthritis. Physical therapists are trained in a range of manual techniques. These techniques typically involve applying controlled pressure to certain parts of the body. With joint mobilization techniques, your physical therapist can help restore normal joint function. Joint mobilization can also have a major positive impact on joint stiffness. Tailored manual therapy is meant to enhance joint flexibility and reduce pain. The effects of this treatment can make it easier to manage your daily activities.

  • Activity modification — Knee osteoarthritis can make certain activities a lot more difficult. With physical therapy, you can learn to modify these activities to reflect your current capacity. Running with poor gait, for example, is an activity that can make your symptoms worse. By modifying the way you run, you can continue to get your exercise in a safer way. If you are curious about ways to modify a specific activity you enjoy, you can ask your physical therapist for professional advice. Learning to perform daily activities with proper body mechanics can be a great way to minimize knee pain and preserve your joints. With the help of your physical therapist, you can work to maintain joint health in each aspect of your life.

  • Injury rehab — In some cases, osteoarthritis can be caused by a major injury. This kind of osteoarthritis is called post-traumatic arthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis tends to be caused by injuries that affect the joints. Bone fractures and dislocations are among the most common causes. If your osteoarthritis is caused by an injury, receiving rehabilitative care is essential. Your physical therapist can integrate special techniques that focus on promoting healing. Healing-centered treatments may include manual therapy techniques that encourage circulation. By promoting blood flow, manual therapy can help injured tissue receive the nutrition it needs. Physical therapy rehab for knee osteoarthritis can be vital to long-term recovery.

  • Pre- and post-surgical rehab — Surgery for osteoarthritis is rarely necessary. In severe cases, though, it can be an essential step toward finding relief. If you are planning to or have already undergone surgery for osteoarthritis, physical therapy is still important. Physical therapy can help strengthen your knee and keep your body resilient during the period leading up to the operation. This can reduce the risk of complications during surgery. After the operation, physical therapy can facilitate recovery. This can help you make a swift return to your regular responsibilities.

Find treatment for your knee osteoarthritis at Back in Motion

Ready to address your knee osteoarthritis? At Back in Motion Physical Therapy, we are ready to deliver the care you need. Our expert team can help manage your knee osteoarthritis. We offer a range of top-notch treatments tailored to arthritis and other joint conditions.

Call us or request an appointment today to start your treatment journey.

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