When thinking of bad knees, the term osteoarthritis often comes to mind. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the cartilage of synovial joints, commonly affecting the knee joint, and is relatively pervasive in society today, including in those with an athletic and active lifestyle. While athletic activity does not have a cause and effect relationship with osteoarthritis, traumatic injury often resulting from athletic pursuits can increase the likelihood of its occurrence, which I think may explain the issues that have plagued me and my knees. Currently I have been able to manage the effects of osteoarthritis and have been able to remain active, but not without the incorporation of a few exercises like those below (Thomas et al, 2013) to help maintain the strength around my knees and that are designed to protect the cartilage that is left in my knees.
In 2005, approximately 27 million US adults were diagnosed with clinical osteoarthritis (OA) affecting quality of life through pain and functional limitations. This number is projected to rise to 67 million by 2030, thus paving the way for a definite need to find ways to take care of our knees (Murphy et al, 2012). Thus, in addition to the above exercises, below are a few suggestions that can be used by individuals without osteoarthritis as well as those who currently are dealing with pain from osteoarthritis:
Upon discussion with a physician, other simple options, such as braces, may be available in addition to those above. Yet it is still suggested as both a preventative measure and for rehabilitation that the middle-aged athlete continue recreational sport and activity, if pain-free, as there is a positive association with activity and improved function, performance and reduced pain. Of course, with any injury, it is suggested that individuals consult their physician for diagnosis and additional treatment options. Finally, it is also suggested that if pain is present that individuals seek medical advice from their physician.
Murphy L, Helmick CG. The impact of osteoarthritis in the United States: a population-health perspective. Am J Nurs. 2012;112:S13–S19
Thomas, A., Band-Entrup, D., Kuhn, S., Legere, L., Et al. Physical Therapy Management of Knee Osteoarthritis in the Middle-aged Athlete. Sports Med and Arthroscopy Review, 2013:21(1):2–10. doi: 10.1097/JSA.0b013e318272f530