Some people have the misconception that osteoarthritis will be made worse by exercise, wearing out the joints in the knees more quickly. However, the opposite is true. The right type of exercise and the right amount of it can help to relieve some of the pain caused by knee arthritis. It can be an effective treatment for early and moderate osteoarthritis of the joints in the body. The physical therapists at 1 on 1 Physical Therapy are interested in helping Asheville NC residents improve their health, relieve their pain, and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.
Learn about the Causes of Osteoarthritis in the Knee
When the knee joint is functioning well, a person does not experience any pain or discomfort. The joints contain hundreds of chemicals, proteins, cytokines, and other compounds that line the joint in the knee. When a person experiences an injury or their body goes through another change, a switch flips in the body. The changes that take place in the knee joint are similar to how other changes in the body take place when a person has a chronic disease. The switch flips on and affects genes in the DNA that create more chemicals that negatively affect the cartilage in the joint. Those chemicals injure the cartilage cells and stop it from functioning in a healthy way.
How This Switch Affects the Knee Joints
It is possible for the cartilage to get thinner or not function as it normally should when a person is healthy. This can lead to swelling, pain, inflammation, and the knee being warm to the touch. It can also cause chronic inflammation in the body. This is the same type of inflammation that has been shown to be the cause of other chronic diseases, like a fatty liver, heart disease, and type II diabetes. There is evidence that shows that when a person is dealing with chronic inflammation in their body, it can lead to other health issues, like dementia and heart disease.
The Benefits of Exercise
Unfriendly proteins and compounds in the knees can be decreased by regular exercise. One study showed that COMP, which is a protein that some believe is a biomarker of cartilage degeneration, levels decrease in the blood when a person exercises. Running has also been shown to decrease cytokines. When these chemicals are not properly balanced, they can lead to cartilage degradation and wear. Physical therapy may be able to help reduce some of these unfriendly compounds and help individuals to avoid surgery or to heal better afterward.
The Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
The symptoms that each individual will experience with knee arthritis can vary. For example, an individual who has mild arthritis may have an ache in their knee when they walk up the stairs, walk on level ground, or run. They may feel this pain on the back of their knee or on the inner or outer sides of it. Some experience pain at night in their knee because of inflammation. This can lead to stiffness in the morning. Depending on where the arthritis is located, it can make a person feel like their knee is going to give way.
The Link between Knee Arthritis and Metabolic Health
The number of people who experience osteoarthritis around the world is continuing to rise. It is the same with other chronic diseases like type II diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, and heart disease. Part of the reason why this increase is being seen is because of the way the body is sensitive to what a person eats. Metabolic issues are being looked at more and more to see how they are playing a role in the development of chronic diseases, including osteoarthritis.
Exercise Regularly to Improve Arthritis in the Knee
The research clearly shows that individuals who have osteoarthritis in the knee can benefit from physical therapy and regular exercise. It can help them with pain management, improve their strength, and decrease muscle atrophy. It can improve the quality of a person’s life and help them delay the need for surgery. Exercise can reduce inflammation in the body and improve a person’s overall health, including helping them to lose weight, which will have a variety of other benefits. The right type of exercise can also help to combat changes relating to the aging process.