Saturday, May 7, 2011

Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment Guideline : Do's & Dont's

Now-a-days many people suffer from arthritis. Many types of arthritis are there but osteoarthritis is most common type of arthritis. Knee osteoarthritis mostly affects the people who are above 40. In America, over 10 million people suffer from knee osteoarthritis. In United States, knee osteoarthritis is also most prevalent cause of disability. Compared to men, women are at greater risk to be affected. There are many treatment options available for knee osteoarthritis. Refer the article to know treatment guidelines of knee osteoarthritis.
Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee Osteoarthritis is also recognized as “Degenerative Joint Disease”. Knee osteoarthritis generally occurs while the joint surface cartilage which covers the eloquent surfaces of the bones gradually wears away leaving the raw bone uncovered. The cartilage itself becomes slimmer as the disease progress and some times may wear away altogether. Stiffness, pain, decreasing range of motion, crepitus, muscle weakness and atrophy, baker's cyst, effusion, deformity are the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. It can be caused by many reasons such as previous knee injury, trauma, repetitive strain on the knee, obesity, fractures, problems with subchondral bone, genetics, ligament tear and meniscal injury which affect alignment as well as promote wear and tear. The symptoms can be managed if they are diagnosed early.

Treatment Guidelines for Knee Osteoarthritis


1) Tai Chi
Tai Chi is traditional Chinese martial arts which is very effective for the people who suffer from severe knee osteoarthritis. Slow, rhythmic movements are used to enhance mental relaxation, muscle function, balance, strength, self-efficacy and flexibility. Various motion, muscle conditioning, flexibility and aerobic work are included in this therapy. Tai Chi reduces pain greatly and enhances overall physical as well as mental health. During the Tai Chi practice, the muscles release PGC1Alpha which is a natural anti-inflammatory formed in the body. As per study done by the researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine, the person (more than 65 years) who suffered from knee osteoarthritis experienced less pain and enhanced physical function when they involved in regular Tai Chi exercise.

2) Acupuncture
Acupuncture is ancient Chinese technique which has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat different conditions. It is very effective and improves the function in people suffering from knee osteoarthritis. In acupuncture therapy, small thin metal needles are inserted by hand into specific points on the body to relieve the pain. Acupuncture is based on the hypothesis that illness occur when the flow of energy named “QI” is blocked or imbalanced. To correct imbalance and block channels the acupuncture needles are positioned. As per study at University of Maryland the patients who received acupuncture treatment for knee osteoarthritis reported 40% less pain compared to the people who got other treatments. There is no side effect in this method but be sure that the needles are sterilized (germ-free).

3) Yoga
Yoga is very helpful for the people with knee osteoarthritis. Yoga helps to improve balance, flexibility, and strength of the muscles as well as decrease the pain. As per study people who performed yoga experienced less pain and enhanced range of motion than other people who had not performed. Yoga postures (asanas) help the people suffering from knee osteoarthritis by strengthening the quadriceps and emphasizing stretching. People suffering from knee osteoarthritis should start the postures slowly after doing warm up. While performing yoga muscles discharge a natural anti-inflammatory, PGC1Alpha. Yoga asanas for knees are Garudasana (Eagle Pose), Utkatasana (Powerful Pose) and Vrksasana (Tree Pose). Garudasana helps to strengthen knees, Vrksasana develops balance and Utkatasana builds strength. You must contact physical therapist before beginning yoga practice for knee osteoarthritis to ensure that the asanas are safe for you.

4) Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements
Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements help to decrease the knee osteoarthritis pain when taken together. They also lessen inflammation as well as even slow the development of disease. Glucosamine is an amino sugar formed naturally in human body. Glucosamine promotes the development and repair of cartilage tissue. Chondroitin sulfate is a complex carbohydrate which helps cartilage to retain water and sustain elasticity in the cartilage cells. Chondroitin sulfate also prevents cartilage destroying enzymes. Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements can reduce the pain in the people with knee osteoarthritis by 20 % or greater. Some possible side effects of these supplements are heartburn, nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach. Some people can be allergic to Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements so they should avoid taking them.

5) Feldenkrais Therapy
Feldenkrais method helps to decrease osteoarthritis knee pain and disability. Moshe Feldenkrais has developed the Feldenkrais method. This improving movement method is gentle and raises self-awareness. In this method, simple movements are used to rearrange posture, strength, flexibility and coordination. This method helps the people to know correct body movement and their effects on the body. This method includes two techniques such as ATM (Awareness Through Movement) and FI (Functional Integration). From these 2 techniques, people can use any one of them to get results. Basic movements such as lying in bed, standing, sitting, etc are taught in this method.

6) Alexander Technique
Like Feldenkrais method, Alexander Technique also helps to lessen osteoarthritis knee pain and disability. Alexander technique is a simple and practical method to improve posture and movement in every day activities. F. Matthias Alexander has developed the Alexander Technique. This technique helps to learn the use of right amount of effort for a specific activity which gives you extra energy for all activities. In this method, proper Kinaesthesia is taught which means to avoid health problems and to treat subsisting conditions correct moves are taught to the people. With the help of this method, people find a new balance in the body.

7) Massage
Since 1000s of years, massage therapy has been practiced. Massage is very helpful for the people suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Massage eases the muscle tension related with osteoarthritis as well as warm up the muscles. It also increases blood circulation to the affected area which helps to reduce stiffness of joint and endorse cartilage repair. Muscle spasms in other body parts are prevented by massage. Along with reducing the pain, massage also improves function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Blood pressure level, stress, depression, anxiety, and pain perception are decreased with the help of massage.


  • Never sit with crossed knee.
  • Don’t do jerky movements.
  • Lifting of heavy things should be avoided.
  • Never perform exercise in cold weather.
  • Avoid sugary foods, noodles, fried foods, white pasta and white flower such as cookies, muffins, white bread & doughnuts.
  • Avoid extended duration activities such as gardening, kneeling, standing and squatting etc as they can strain the joints.


Very informative. The cause of my OA was obesity. I gained a lot when I was in college. Mainly because foods became my stress reliever. My orthopedic surgeon, Dr Grossman, advised me that I could get my OA cured through stem cell treatment, which we did for several weeks. He was right. Although it took 4 months for me to see and feel the beneficial effects of stem cell treatment, I never had problems with my knees and toes since then. :)

Dr. Ajay Kumar asserts on being personally Knee Arthritis Pain involved in understanding and throughout the treatment of his every patient.

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