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5 myths to reconsider about knee arthritis ?

If you type in knee osteoarthritis (OA) or even knee pain in google, you will get thousand links explaining how it occurs, the diagnosis, the dos and don’ts. We surely would love to add to that because a physical therapist can never not, talk about knee arthritis and can never not come across it! It is no secret that therapeutic exercises have been proven effective in relieving pain and improving function.

But, we thought why not address the most common myths about knee osteoarthritis believed even today and also see if they have been debunked correctly? Let's reconsider these because knee arthritis remains a controversy despite it being researched for decades.

1.Knee arthritis is a disease of the older.

 Is it ? To start with, is the fact about the whole- what causes knee arthritis. It was believed that OA was exclusively a deterioration of the cartilage - ‘wear and tear’ of the cartilage, however, latest evidence has proven that OA is a mix of many factors such as injury to the knee, mechanical forces, genetic factors, obesity as the major contributing factor, inflammation (swelling in the tissue around the knee), making younger population predisposed to OA or are at great risks to developing osteoarthritis. The occurrence has come down to 65 to 45 year of age.

Also, physical inactivity may predispose to knee OA. Hence preventing OA is as important a part of education, as treating the arthritis.

2. Running is not allowed.

Many people think that running might cause OA in the future or even people with arthritis think they cannot run after having arthritic knees.This myth is quite controversial. After digging deep, we found that initially there were studies which said it was not recommended a number of studies proving that its effective. Now, one thing to remember is that the association of osteoarthritis with exercises depends on the type of exercises and also is different between recreational and professional runners.

This meta analysis published in 2017 implied that recreational running can be recommended as a general exercise in knee osteoarthritis as it is effective in people with knee osteoarthritis.

3.Do knee braces really work?

People believe that wearing a knee brace or a knee sleeve is the solution for knee pain and thus keep the brace on for day and night. It gives them relief but do they get dependent on it? How effective is it? Several studies in the past had shown that knee braces and sleeves are effective in relieving pain and improve knee function by improving knee movement and position awareness but recent scientific analysis showed that bracing isn't very effective. What ? What does that mean ? The 2019 studies concluded that braces such as unloader knee braces and neoprene sleeves can be effective if used in combination with therapeutic exercises, weight control and nonsurgical treatments.

So we would recommend that they should only be used 3 to 4 hours in a day while exercising and walking.

4. "I tried going for physical therapy for a while and didn't help. Surgery is my only option".

How many times have physical therapists heard this statement? All the time. Patients with advanced arthritis and those who are not responding to other treatments may need surgery. But, for others who have mild to moderate symptoms therapeutic exercises along with medications have shown to reduce pain and improve quality of life and delay the worsening of OA.

People often start being cautious of physical activity and think they might worsen their OA and think surgery is the only option. This often leads to increase in the severity of arthritis and make them ideal candidates for surgeries. Exercises should become a part of your daily life and you will see changes in the long run.

5. Are Corticosteroids a good option?

When the pain becomes unbearable, people look at steroid shots as the only option. The corticosteriod injections bring down inflammation in the joint, relieving pain. But are they effective and are they recommended? Although theses treatments are performed about thosand per day world wide, the efficiency is questioned by many organizations.

New evidence considers these injections as potential risks in patients with knee OA. The study showed that there are inconclusive results that these injections work, they may worsen the condition and also could increase risk of fracture. One recent study has also showed that when compared to physical therapy, steroids were less effective in controlling pain and improving function!

Also its studied that steroid injections don't have long term effects and instead, repeated shots over a period of time might damage the cartilage more.

So, why not use heat pads at home, exercise correctly and do some more exercises !

We haven't yet found any negative effects of exercises! Just saying....😜

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