With Rosie Jones Osteopath


Athlete inspects diseased knee while jogging

This month I would like to talk about osteoarthritis, specifically of the knee joints. Osteoarthritis is very common as we get older and affects around 8 million people in the UK at the moment. Although we think of arthritis as some-thing that affects older people, it can develop at a younger age following injury, or with certain conditions.

What is osteoarthritis?

Arthritis affects the lining of a joint; this lining is known as cartilage. In the development of arthritis cartilage begins to wear away which causes the surface of the joint to become rough instead of smooth. Once the lining of a joint is roughened this makes movement more difficult, which in turn leads to swelling, pain, and stiffness. If joint osteoarthritis is severe it can lead to bone rubbing on bone which causes the bone to distort, making movement even harder and can lead to a change to the shape of the joint. All these changes to the joint make it more difficult for the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the joint to work effectively, causing further secondary problems.

Who gets it?

Anyone can develop knee osteoarthritis, but it is more common in women and especially those who have a family history of it. It is not clear as to why knee osteoarthritis is more common in women, but several theories are being researched, including the role of hormones, and body composition. It has been found in one study that increased levels of leg muscle in women actually decreased the levels of knee arthritis, this emphasises the importance of strength training, especially for women. Being overweight also contributed to the development of knee osteoarthritis, with obese people having a higher risk of developing it. Finally, unstable knee joints are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Instability of the knee joint is often the result of previous injury, for example tearing a ligament or muscle around the joint. Damage like this can lead to problems with the function of the knees making it easier to injure them again, and of course to instability.


Rosie pic 2What can be done about it?

Look after your knees!

It is not entirely understood why some people develop osteoarthritis and some don’t, but generally keeping your joints as healthy as possible is a good idea. In order to prevent joints becoming unstable it is wise to ensure that following an injury to the knee you undertake a good rehab-ilitation programme that focuses on balance and muscle strengthening. Osteopaths are trained to deal with a wide variety of different knee injuries, so if you injure your knee, do get in touch with an osteopath who will be able to treat the injury and get you ready for the rehabilitation stage.


But what if I already have it?

When osteoarthritis develops in the knee it can be particularly difficult to get around as the knee is a weight bearing joint. This can be problematic as being unable to weight-bear can reduce your activity levels and lead you to put on weight. Of course, this is a bit of a catch 22 as the heavier you are, the more pressure there is on the knee joints! I suggest getting into a swimming pool, swimming is great exercise as there is very little impact on the joints, but lots of resistance from the water, which is great for muscle development.

If you already suffer with osteoarthritis of the knees, osteopathy can be used to help the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the joint to cope with it, reducing pain and inflammation in the joint.

For further information or to book an appointment call Rosie on 07540 453280 or visit www.swanseabodykinetics.co.uk


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