Osteoarthritis…don’t dispair

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How often do you hear your client saying, I have Osteoarthritis in my Knee or hip, there is nothing you can do about it.

Big Sigh…..😒 there is so, so much we can do about it. So let’s recap on what Osteoarthritis is. Unlike its similarly named companion, Inflammatory Arthritis, Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune condition, it is caused by the bone rubbing away the cartilage until the bone starts rubbing on bone…. oow 😟 no wonder it hurts. So what can we do about it.

Well what we can’t do is to get rid of the damage that has already occurred. But what we can do is stop the joint rubbing so it doesn’t hurt any more. Bare with me here.

Osteoarthritis doesn’t happen over night, let’s look at the knee, for example. The position of the knee bones is really important, they should be aligned correctly so they run over the cartilage correctly and nothing gets damaged along the way. If that alignment goes wrong, so think of valgus and varus leg positions here, that puts pressure on one part of the joint and that part starts to put more pressure on the cartilage on one side of the joint. Over time, the cartilage will begin to get damaged due to the excessive rubbing it is being subjected to and eventually it will ware away. Then we have nothing protecting the ends of the bones so we get bone rubbing on bone. Nasty.

However, if we rebalance that persons knee, so it now aligns correctly, we can’t undo the damage, but it will no longer rub and therefore no longer cause pain. So, for this example, it is important to have a good understanding of the knee musculature and how to isolate and strengthen the different areas.
If you are a trainer, you have a huge number of tools at your disposal, including isolated leg curl and extension machines. These are great for spotting and treating leg imbalances, train one leg at a time and make sure both legs are the same strength, twist to foot inwards and outwards so load the inside and outside muscles more. These machines are a great way to do spot checks on your clients to ensure they aren’t creating and imbalance.

If you are a therapist, you have great hands on skills to loosen off the tight side and then use bands to isolate and strengthen the leg muscles to rebalance the knee. Don’t forget, while we are talking knees, that the feet, the hips and the pelvis all impact on the position of the knee.

Want to use this for CPD?
Thinking about the knee, if someone’s knees point inwards when they stand with their feet together, what part of the knee is likely to be getting damaged? What can you do to realign this persons knee? Which structures, apart from the knee, may be causing this knee position?

Then write it all up in your CPD log. For your Free Reinge Education CPD log click here and sign up to our newsletter.

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