Knee Osteoarthritis or degeneration of the cartilage is something that, unfortunately, most of us will have to deal with as we get older. In todays post we will have a closer look at the knee joint and what we can do in order to decrease the pain.
The main functions of cartilage in the knee joints are:
- Decrease pressure on the bone.
- Decrease friction in the joint.
- Nourish the joint.
An easier way to understand the function of cartilage is to compare it to a tire of a road bike with the wheel itself being the bones. Riding around on the bike for decades will eventually lead to the tire getting thinner and thinner affecting the wheel over time.
The cartilage can recover well from injury until the age of 18, after this age however the recovery will be much slower to non-present. It also has the amazing ability to adapt to the load we are putting on to the joint.
When loading the joint the cartilage will provide the surrounding structures with a layer of fluid. This fluid functions as lubrication of the joint and is very important to keep up the mobility.
What we can do to keep the knee joint healthy:
- Exercise, increasing stability and strength in the muscles will decrease the pressure on the degenerated cartilage. Research has shown that this is the most effective way to manage Osteoarthritis. A physiotherapist can advise you on the correct exercise for you.
- Loose weight, every kilogram that we loose will decrease the joint pressure by 4 kg.
- No lumbering, a slightly faster pace is better for the cartilage.
- A knee brace can be used short term to reduce pain and improve stability. There is however the downside of loosing muscle strength if wearing it too much.
- Correct footwear and orthotics could help to improve every day life activities.
- Fish oil, studies have shown that fish oil improves joint quality, eating a fatty fish twice a week will provide you would enough omega 3 to benefit the joints.
- Panadol Osteo and Anti-inflammatory, we would advise you to talk to your GP regarding the use of medication to decrease joint pain.