By Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/Physical Therapist

Osteoarthritis Overview

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis, affecting about 30 million Americans. OA can form in any joint of the body but is usually seen in the major joints, such as the knees and hips. OA begins to form once the body’s natural shock absorber (cartilage) breaks down. Cartilage provides support in all of the body’s joints to allow for cushioning and easy gliding between the bones of a joint. Once this layer of cushion has been worn away the bones will grind on each other which will lead to increased pain and may cause the bones to break down.

Osteoarthritis of the knee can be a debilitating injury, but it can be treated by an orthopedic surgeon.

Image of Knee with Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

OA symptoms and warning signs can come on slowly and build in intensity over time. Some of these signs include the following:

  • Pain: Hips/knees may experience pain after movement.
  • Stiffness: This may be especially noticeable after a period of rest or inactivity.
  • Popping, or grating: You may experience a grating sensation when bending the joint, or hear a pop.
  • Loss of flexibility: The joint may not be able to go through its full range of motion.

To Learn More About the Anatomy of the Knee, please go to this knee VIDEO.

Causes and Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis

Some causes of OA have been linked to the following:

  • Previous injuries: Any kind of injury puts you at an increased risk for OA, even if the injury occurred years ago.
  • Being overweight: Extra weight puts more pressure on weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees.
  • Imbalances of the hip and thigh musculature.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

Since there is no actual cure for osteoarthritis, there are a number of things your doctor may recommend. These may include the following:

  • Physical Therapy. Your PT will focus on giving you exercises tailored to strengthen your affected muscles.
  • A general increase in activity. Go on walks, do some light stretching, etc.
  • Weight loss.
  • Surgery. This is usually the last option, if other treatments have not been effective.

Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Rehab

To schedule an appointment for physical or occupational therapy, call 904-858-7045 or any of the 12 area JOI Rehab Centers.  To learn more from JOI Rehab, please read this article on the conservative treatment options to avoid a total knee surgery.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

If you need to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or click the banner below.

By: Ehren Allen, PT 

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