How Physical Therapy Can Put That Spring Back in Your Step When You Have Achy Knees

How Physical Therapy Can Put That Spring Back in Your Step When You Have Achy Knees

Not only is being active with friends a distant memory, but achy knees are also rendering everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs or even getting out of a chair, a challenge. Rather than succumbing to this shrinking and limited world, you can regain mobility and freedom through physical therapy.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are dealing with knee pain due to degenerative arthritis, Jason LaMendola, PT, and the team of skilled movement and function experts at TLC Physical Therapy can help.

Understanding the challenge

If you want to improve function in your knee and reduce pain and inflammation, you must fully appreciate what you’re up against. The number one driver of achy knees is osteoarthritis (OA), which affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States.

With OA, the protective cartilage inside your joints begins to break down over time, which is why this form of arthritis is also called a wear-and-tear or degenerative joint disease. While OA can affect any of the moving joints in your body, knee OA accounts for 80% of the total

One of the biggest challenges with OA is that your cartilage doesn’t readily regenerate since it doesn’t have any blood vessels. As a result, once the damage is done, it can’t be undone.

There is hope with physical therapy

While it may sound like there’s no way out of the discomfort of knee OA, we assure you that physical therapy (PT) is one of the best solutions. PT not only manages and slows the disease but also reduces pain and inflammation and helps you regain function.

There are three goals with our PT:

     1. Strengthen your knees

Your knee joints certainly aren’t standalone structures — there are muscles above, below, and around your knees. Through PT, our goal is to strengthen these muscles to take the pressure off the bones in your joint. In reducing the force inside your knees with muscle support, you feel less pain, and you’re better able to protect your knees against further damage.

We also spend some time strengthening other muscles, such as your core muscles (abdomen and back) to help support your knees.

    2. Range of motion and flexibility

Another goal of PT is to improve the range of motion and flexibility in your knees to remain active. With OA, you tend to limit how much you move around, which can lead to inflammation and stiffness. The connective tissues in your joint, such as ligaments and tendons, can tighten.

Through targeted stretches, we ward off stiffness and keep the connective tissues supple and healthy.

     3. Function

No matter the stage of your knee OA, we concentrate on meeting your functional goals. For example, if your knee OA is just starting and you long to continue running, we focus on exercises that support that goal. If the OA in your knees is advanced and you just want to be able to climb stairs, we devote our time to this functional goal.

Whatever activity level you wish to return to, we tailor your PT program to that end.

While there may be no cure for knee OA, physical therapy is the next best thing for regaining pain-free knee movement.

To explore how PT can help with your knee OA, please contact one of our offices on the North and South Shores of Staten Island, in Englishtown, New Jersey, or Midtown, Manhattan, in New York City, to schedule an appointment.

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