Can Physical Therapy Help with Osteoarthritis

September 10, 2013 in STSMPT

Arthritis among the Middle-Aged: People often think of arthritis as a problem that just affects older retirees, but this is not always true. In the case of osteoarthritis of the knee, the typical age of onset is 40 to 45. Earlier onset is sometimes associated with activities such as playing ball sports, occupational kneeling/squatting, and cycling. Higher weight also leads to earlier onset of arthritis in the knees. For people with arthritis of the knees, and other types of arthritis, the earlier one gets the right physical therapy guidance, the better the chance of modulating the progression of the disease.

Can Physical Therapy Really Help – Long Term? You bet! In one randomized, placebo controlled trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (1), people who participated in physical therapist designed exercise programs demonstrated greater six-minute walking times after one year, and they had fewer knee surgeries. Another study published in the British Medical Journal found that people who were given a physical therapist designed home exercise program showed significant improvements in stiffness, muscle strength, physical function, and pain even two years later.(2) People who did their 30 minute home exercise program daily had the best results, but even people who had moderate and low adherence to the program maintained measurable improvements. Therapeutic taping with athletic tape has also been shown to reduce pain in knee arthritis,(3) and we can teach people to do that as well.

If you or someone you know is getting slowed down by arthritis pain, swelling, or stiffness, give us a call.

1. Deyle GD, et al. Effectiveness of manual physical therapy and exercise in osteoarthritis of the knee. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med February 1, 2000: 132: 173-81.
2. Thomas K, et al. Home based exercise programme for knee pain and knee osteoarthritis: randomised controlled trial. BMJ October 5, 2002; 325: 752-5.
3. Hinman RS, et al. Efficacy of knee taping in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee: blinded randomized controlled trial. BMJ July 19, 2003; 327: 135-8.

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