Back to Top
Greensboro Physical Therapy on Facebook

What’s The Deal With Knee Osteoarthritis? (And What Can You Do About It?)

Mike Wright PT, DPT, OCS, ATC

Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by cell stress/degradation caused by trauma and maladaptive repair in joints.  Articular cartilage, which covers the bones in the knee joint, is avascular (has no blood supply), does not regenerate, and receives nutrients through diffusion via mechanical pressure (which means if you don’t move, it doesn’t get nutrients!). Pain actually occurs from the synovium, bone, and nerves, not from the cartilage itself. Bone becomes weight bearing as cartilage wears, with changes in pressure and loading resulting in pain.

Diagram showing OA

Did You Know?

  • 50% of population has a musculoskeletal disorder, with 25% reporting chronic pain in a joint. 
  • The knee is the most common lower extremity site for OA (27 million people have knee OA).
  • Primary factors for knee OA:  increased BMI, female, previous knee injury.  Other factors: high impact sports, altered joint mechanics, and jobs that require frequent kneeling.

Treatment Options

Arthroscopic surgery: “Just say no”.  Research has shown a placebo effect at best, with an increased chance of needing a total knee replacement down the line.

Injections: Research has shown relief for approx. 2 weeks typically, with no measurable increase in function noted long term.  

Consistent supervised/guided exercise plan and physical therapy are low risk options that show improvements at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months.

Why Choose Physical Therapy?

Clinical evaluation/screening with “booster sessions” performed by our Doctors of Physical Therapy have shown improved outcomes, progressed activity level and helps address impairments that limit your daily life. Yearly “checkups” are recommended, with more frequent sessions when pain is present. Supervised exercise, manual therapy, strength/endurance training, and light aerobics have been shown to decrease pain, increase function, improve strength/control, improve joint mechanics, improve quad strength, decrease inflammation, improve motion, and improve gait to help you achieve your maximum function.

What to do?  Give us a call at Greensboro Physical Therapy (336.274.5006) to set up your personalized evaluation to find out what may help you have less pain and trouble related to that diagnosis of “Uncle Arthur.”