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How a healthy lifestyle can help manage Osteoarthritis of the knee

stephen frontOsteoarthritis affects around 8.5 million in the UK, with osteoarthritis of the knee being the most common form. Projections for the future show that by 2030 over 167 million people will be suffering from osteoarthritis which is an alarming figure.

The condition itself relates to the degradation of cartilage within the knee joint, the padding which sits within the knee and acts as cushioning between the femur and tibia. Cartilage acts a shock absorber for the body as you walk, run and jump and whilst it will degrade naturally over time, the onset of OA can increase this and have an impact on mobility.

Whilst there is no cure for osteoarthritis of the knee there are a number of treatment options available both from a surgical and non-surgical perspective. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help with your treatment which can work to delay the need for surgery.

Exercise

It may seem counterintuitive that exercise should be beneficial in managing OA as it is movement which causes the pain in the first place, however gentle exercise can help to release endorphins which act as natural painkillers.

It is also advisable to stay clear of high impact activities such as running and look at swimming or cycling which result in less pressure being placed on the knee joint whilst still allowing you to remain active.

Exercise can help to increase strength in the legs and your overall flexibility which can enhance your overall mobility, focussing on muscle and joint based exercises.

Healthy eating

Healthy eating is essential for everyone but from an OA perspective healthy eating and weight management can help to ease the pain experienced when mobile as there is less pressure being exerted on the knee joint.

The more pressure being placed on the affected knee joint the greater your mobility can be compromised and the greater the pain you may experience.

How a knee brace can help

As a non-surgical and non-invasive treatment the use of a knee brace can help with mobility and ultimately allow you to exercise. These braces work by unloading the pressure on the affected side of the knee where unilateral OA has been diagnosed, effectively reducing the bone on bone contacts experienced which is the source of pain.

By removing the pain element a patient is able to return to some form of normality from every day activities to being out and keeping fit, all of which offer a greater wellbeing to counteract the signs of OA.

If you believe you are suffering from OA then you should seek a professional diagnosis and speak with a medical professional in the first instance.