Be kind to your knees and joints

Be kind to your knees and joints

Arthritis Care Awareness Week 2022 takes place between 14 and 21 May, and it is an opportunity to raise awareness about arthritis, giving support to those who suffer with this condition.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently published guidelines saying a healthier lifestyle can help ease osteoarthritis symptoms. This is great news for the many people who suffer with arthritis, it will give them the confidence to get back to doing the things they love and carry on being active.

Both the knee and hip are complex, weight-bearing joints, comprised of multiple structures that support their primary function; first and foremost, they were designed to move.

When something goes wrong, you will know about it as the fact we rely on them so much means we cannot escape the pain and that quickly affects day-to-day life. 

What is Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by changes in the whole joint that can cause discomfort and pain. Osteoarthritis can mean people have a reduced quality of life. It is the most common form of arthritis, and one of the leading causes of pain and disability worldwide. It is estimated there are approximately 7.4 million people in England over the age of 45 identified as having osteoarthritis. The most affected joints are the knees, hips and small hand joints.

Your best friend in these circumstances will be a physiotherapist, whose knowledge and experience leads them to identify the problem and the best course of action.

First a quick biology lesson...

Both joints have a membrane capsule which surrounds it, ligamentous attachments for stability and cartilage to help with movement, cushioning and shock absorption. Both are surrounded by large muscle groups that further allow the range of movement they were meant for.

Pain can occur as a result of damage to one of these components or weakness to the associated muscles. This may be due to injury or trauma, degenerative changes, lack of use or congenital defects.

Hip and knee pain can occur at any age. However, age-related pain is most likely to be experienced early to mid-50s.

Your physiotherapist may use a range of treatments to help manage your symptoms. These may include individually-tailored exercises, electrotherapy, taping techniques and soft tissue mobilisations. They will also be able to guide you through lifestyle changes and management techniques so that you are able to deal with your symptoms going forward.

If you are planning on returning to a specific sport or activity then your physiotherapist will be vital in guiding you through the best exercises for you, the frequency and intensity of the exercises and participating in a phased and safe way to avoid reinjury or unnecessary aggravation.

The best chance of staying problem-free hinges on looking after yourself.

Bridie said: “It is not possible to precisely predict when an injury may occur or who will develop pain as they get older.

“However, living a healthy lifestyle and taking regular exercise can help to maintain our strength and joint mobility, reducing the likelihood of injury. It also means that should we experience pain as part of the aging process, we will be better able to manage it. Our weight can play a big part for our joint health, so trying to stay within a healthy weight limit can reduce the amount of pressure on our joints.

“To reduce the risk of injury when exercising or playing sport, it is so important to complete a warm up and cool down on each occasion.”

To find out more about orthopaedic treatments at Benenden Hospital, please complete our online enquiry form or contact our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Published on 14 May 2022