Learn more about arthritis

Arthritis can be complicated and overwhelming. Learn more about arthritis including the best exercises, diets, and adventures. We are here to not only make it easy for you to understand but to bring hope to your situation with the tips and tricks we present.

best protein for arthritis

How PROTEIN can be just as powerful as ibuprofen: 5 of the best ways to use protein for arthritis pain relief

We know that protein helps to build stronger muscles but did you know it is also anti-inflammatory? Scientists and nutrition experts have been looking into protein for arthritis and its benefits for years now. Research has shown that inadequate consumption of protein and it’s essential amino acids can actually lead to increased perceived level of pain! There are 3 essential amino acids that play an integral role in reducing inflammation and maintaining lean body mass (aka muscle)- these include endorphin, serotonin, and GABA. The best way to obtain these amino acids is to eat them in high protein foods! Let’s learn more about protein for arthritis below.

 “If arthritis symptoms are debilitating and activity is compromised, getting enough protein is essential to holding on to muscle mass and function,” says Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, professor of aging and health at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for an article published by the Arthritis Foundation

Unfortunately a large number of the world’s population is not getting the right amount of protein. Let’s do some quick math to see if you are. Take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.7. This number is approximately the number of grams of protein you should be consuming per day…

Many times, we think we are getting way more protein than we truly are. Take a look at the protein content of common foods according to Johns Hopkins

  • An egg has 6-8 grams of protein
  • Most greek yogurts have 12-18 grams of protein
  • A typical chicken breast (4oz) has about 30 grams of protein
  • A half cup of cottage cheese has about 14 grams of protein

The idea is, you may not be consuming as much protein as you think you have been. Quite a few of my clients have been shocked, thinking they were consuming an adequate amount of protein then adding up a typical day to find out they are way under the goal.

Let’s dive into WHY you should be eating more protein and the benefits to your arthritis pain! 

I promise, increasing your protein intake will not automatically make your biceps bigger or create huge muscles like in those bikini fitness shows. Instead protein can bring healing powers for arthritis pain relief, maintain stronger bones, and reduce inflammation! Learn the 5 reasons you should be eating protein for arthritis below: 

1. Protein prevents muscle wasting

Did you know that protein is responsible for maintaining and growing your muscles? Odds are you probably did. But did you know that without the right amount of protein, your muscles are at risk for getting weak, even if you are exercising?!

We hear time and time again that strength training can have amazing effects on arthritis pain. This is because the stronger your muscles are, the more force they are able to absorb, instead of your joint having to do all of the work. If you are strength training but not intaking enough protein, you may not be building muscle like you think you are.

Strength training is meant to cause very small micro tears in your muscles and then with recovery and nutrition, they are supposed to repair to a stronger state. Much of this repair is dependent on protein. 

Different researchers have dove into the effects of protein on muscle and one interesting study highlighted the true importance of protein when exercising.

"...a modest increase in dietary protein intake... combined with progressive resistance training [strength training] in a vitamin D-replete state has resulted in a greater increase in total body and regional lean tissue mass, muscle size and strength, and functional performance than with progressive resistance training alone in elderly women"

Perna et al, 2019

With the right amount of protein, you can have bigger and stronger muscles which in turn, can make your joints stronger and more resilient even as you age. Almost every client I see, one of their main objectives is to feel stronger and more confident on their painful joints. This is one of the best ways to find arthritis pain relief.

You can use protein for arthritis pain relief by building and repairing stronger muscles such as in the picture below from a research article by de Zwart et al 2018.

protein for arthritis

2. Protein can help make endorphins

Endorphins are a chemical in our bodies that help to make us feel good and relieve pain. Our bodies naturally produce endorphins with the right pieces. Protein is able to provide vital components needed to make these endorphins.  These vital components are called amino acids. Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, giving our body the right tools to begin creating them. 

Without the appropriate amino acids, we aren’t able to make as many! 

Just how powerful are endorphins?

In general, the release of endorphins is understood to be associated with the body’s response to pain and also exercise as associated with “runner’s high.” The pain relief experienced as a result of the release of endorphins has been determined to be greater than that of morphine. Additionally, endorphins have been found to be associated with states of pleasure including such emotions brought upon by laughter, love, sex, and even appetizing food” (Chaudhry 2020)

What do endorphins have to do with arthritis pain? 

Typical pain medications work by attaching to certain receptors leading to pain relief by mimicking natural endorphins. The more endorphins we can naturally produce, the less dependent we are on pain pills. Making sure our body has the appropriate building blocks when creating this chemical is important for maximum relief!

3. Protein helps with weight loss

Weight loss is an integral part when dealing with osteoarthritis pain. Protein is a very important part of this process as it keeps you fuller for a longer period of time. 

Many times, if your meal is primarily from carbohydrates (cereal, breads, pasta, etc) you likely will feel hungry a short time after eating. If, instead, you eat lean meat, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, or even a protein bar- you usually can go longer without feeling like you need to eat again. 

This in turn can decrease the number of times you are snacking throughout the day and decreasing caloric intake.

Besides just the intake, as mentioned above, protein helps with lean muscle building and recovery. I heard this quote in a recent podcast episode from the Consistency Project where EC Synkowski went on to explain that “muscle tissue is expensive” meaning it takes a lot of calories to support it. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn.

If you have little muscle mass, you may have to eat less calories to lose weight compared to someone with a higher muscle mass because they are using more calories throughout the day.

Starting a strength training routine is your best bet to start building muscle no matter your age! Now, the younger you are, you likely will build muscle a little quicker but it’s never too late to start and you can still reap AMAZING benefits. 

What does weight loss and muscle mass have to do with arthritis? The less body fat you have, the less inflammation you will carry. This means your joints will be less irritated! Also the more lean muscle mass you have, the easier weight loss can become. Find out 14 other ways you can reduce inflammation here.

If you would love tips on how to get started with strength training with arthritis, here is a free webinar that has all of the basics you need to know! 

4. Protein can be anti-inflammatory

Most foods that are high in protein, likely are healthier and more quality food sources. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are still some foods that are high in protein but may not be the most nutritious. For example, some protein bars and greek yogurts have just as as much fat and added sugar as some candy bars! 

But for the most part, a homemade protein smoothie, lean meats cooked at home, cottage cheese, beans cooked at home, and other higher protein foods are not as highly processed as foods high in carbohydrates and fats can be.

Many of these processed foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats can be inflammatory. Common culprits can be sugary foods and drinks, low fat, sugar free, and fat free options of foods, and foods that typically come in boxes with a long list of ingredients.

Focusing on protein can help to get more nutrients out of foods. We can’t lose sight though that just because it has protein in it, does not make it healthy. Natural foods that are typically found on the perimeter of the grocery store is a great place to start. 

Take a look at the ingredients. Try to consume at least a protein source at every meal (number of grams will be dependent on how many total grams you need throughout the day).

Protein for arthritis can be extremely powerful to drive down inflammation if we are focusing on the right things primarily including quality of food choices.

If you would like a list of the best anti-inflammatory foods, head to this post

5. Protein helps you age well

As we get older, some of our body processes become less efficient and the way our bodies handle protein is one of them. This is coined “anabolic resistance“.

According to an article on InForm: “Anabolic resistance means that the signals to build up muscle through strength training or eating protein is muted in older adults. Luckily, This resistance can be overcome with an increased amount of strength training or a higher intake of protein.”

A higher intake of protein ensures you still build muscle and prevent the loss of muscle mass you have. 

If you have osteoarthritis, you are at a higher risk to develop anabolic resistance due to the presence of inflammation and potentially decreased activity levels secondary to joint pain. 

Without the right amount of protein, you will continue to lose muscle mass. This can put you at risk for more arthritis pain and increased difficulty completing simple tasks.

Conclusion

Protein is extremely important as you get older but has even more importance if you have osteoarthritis. It can help you build muscle, find pain relief, lose weight, and age well! Making sure you get the appropriate amount of protein is vital to your success in keeping your adventure alive with arthritis. 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

References:

Chaudhry SR, Gossman W. Biochemistry, Endorphin. [Updated 2020 Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470306/

Dragan S, Șerban MC, Damian G, Buleu F, Valcovici M, Christodorescu R. Dietary Patterns and Interventions to Alleviate Chronic Pain. Nutrients. 2020;12(9):2510. Published 2020 Aug 19. doi:10.3390/nu12092510

de Zwart AH, van der Leeden M, Roorda LD, et al. Dietary protein intake and upper leg muscle strength in subjects with knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. Rheumatol Int. 2019;39(2):277-284. doi:10.1007/s00296-018-4223-x

Perna S, Alalwan TA, Al-Thawadi S, et al. Evidence-Based Role of Nutrients and Antioxidants for Chronic Pain Management in Musculoskeletal Frailty and Sarcopenia in Aging. Geriatrics (Basel). 2020;5(1):16. Published 2020 Mar 6. doi:10.3390/geriatrics5010016

knee pain during squats

Knee Pain During Squats: 5 Surprising Reasons To Explain Your Pain

Knee pain during squats is common among those with strength deficits, muscle asymmetries, balance impairments, and those with joint irritation. The good news is, almost all of these are able to be fixed and you will be able to squat again. We squat countless times per day and have been since the caveman era. It is NORMAL to be able to squat without pain. Here are the reasons why knee pain during squats is common.

Squats can be one of the most painful movements with knee osteoarthritis, general knee pain, or following a total joint replacement. But, squats are one of THE if not THE most important movement that we do during daily life. 

Most of our ancestors depended on the deep squat! Our bodies are meant to squat but why are we starting to develop pain with this movement? 

There are many reasons we have developed knee pain during squatting. I want to tell you some of the common reasons that I see when I am working with clients that have knee osteoarthritis or other types of knee pain.

Try this experiment

Stand up from where you are and try to do a squat, bend down and stand up how you usually would. 

Think about how it feels:

  • Do you have any pain?
  • Do you have difficulty squatting lower? 
  • Does it feel awkward or just not right?

Now, stand in front of a chair. Squat down to sit down and then stand back up. Does it feel any different? Does it feel better? 

For most of the people I do this with, the squat dramatically changes from when you have a chair behind you to when you are free squatting. If you watch the video below, look to see what bends FIRST- hips or knees.

The answer, the HIPS. When the knees bend first, they tend to take most of the load. This is one the of the most common problems I find when people have pain when squatting. Now try to squat again, think about bending the hips first NOT the knees.

Typically when people come to me with knee pain during squats, this is one of the first things I look at. This tends to be one of the most common problems that leads to joint pain, especially with increased knee bend.

This test can also be turned into an exercise and can be a great way to teach your body how to squat properly again. This can make a world of difference to knee osteoarthritis pain. 

Let’s look at the 4 other potential reasons you are having knee pain with squats…

Reason #2: Pain has control

Especially when dealing with knee arthritis, I see quite a few people that have pain with squats because they are expecting it. Now I know this sounds crazy but it’s true. 

If we are anticipating pain when we have to get in the car, bend down to sit on the toilet, or when we have to squat down to a chair- we will likely have pain. 

Don’t get me wrong, the pain is real when you have it. But sometimes we can further convince our bodies that the squat is a potentially dangerous movement if we expect pain every time we do it. If we think “Man, this is going to be painful” then our mind thinks that’s actually what we want to happen! 

Our words are very powerful. If you don’t believe me, I would highly recommend checking out the video below with Marisa Peer, a world renowned psychologist. She states: “First you make your beliefs, then your beliefs make you.”

If we start trying positive self talk, you may actually be shocked at the results. If each time you go to squat, you tell yourself some variation of “I can do this” you may start to notice you feel more confident in the movement.

Reason #3: You're stiff

“I just want to be able to squat like everyone else”, I hear this from clients all the time. When I bend down into a deep squat during a session, I hear “Man I wish I could do that”. 

In order to regain squat depth like in the cave man picture above, you have to make sure your joints are free to move how they should. Joint stiffness can alter your ability to squat. With stiffness being one of the leading symptoms of osteoarthritis (learn what the other 3 common symptoms are here!) your joints can be holding you back from getting down into a deeper squat. 

There are a few ways to release joint stiffness and regain mobility. The four main joints that limit squatting ability are typically knees, hips, ankles, and/or spine (upper and/or lower back).  This is why it is so important to look at all of these when figuring out where you need to work on most. I’ve heard physical therapists are great at this 🙂

If you are looking to get started, here is one video to help you find out if your ankle is actually the problem! 

Reason #4: Your hips could use some strength

In having knee pain with squats, the hips may have a part to play in this puzzle! During daily life, we tend to primarily work the muscles that help us walk forwards and stand up from a chair. Do you know what the prime muscles are that do those things? Your thigh muscles. 

The backs of our legs and glutes tend to get neglected a little more than we would like, especially if walking is your primary form of exercise. 

Variety in movement is crucial to keeping well-rounded, strong legs. When we play sports, do variable workout routines, or try different activities for exercise, we may get the variety that we need. In most cases, though, there is not enough variety. 

One of the recent clients I met with was very active playing pickleball, walking, occasionally running, and riding his bike. He started to develop knee pain though, particularly when he was running. Upon assessment, knee pain was prevalent during squats too. Taking a look at his training, it was primarily all in one direction, forwards.

It can be difficult to achieve this variety, especially when dealing with pain because we may be unsure if the exercises we are picking are good for our joints and this was the trap he was falling into.

We added some lateral movements to work the outside hip muscles and some other exercises to help strengthen the back of his legs. Knee pain during squats slowly started to go away once we were able to regain strength. This created a well rounded knee joint, getting support from all sides! 

Unsure of which exercises to start with? This exercise video shows just how simple it is to add in some of these varying directions and movements. All you need is one washcloth to complete it! 

Reason #5: you may be off balance

Now what does balance have anything to do with my knee pain with squats? Actually, way more than you think! Part of decreasing knee pain involves being comfortable shifting your weight backwards.

You might be surprised with your balance! Even if you aren’t falling over the place your balance may not be as great as you think. 

When you have appropriate balance, your muscles are all working together as a team. This team is successful when each muscle is doing its job. When we have pain, and/or a strength or mobility deficit, your team may start to experience some dysfunctions. These dysfunctions can then lead to increased joint pain because it alters how your joint accepts stress.

If your balance is better on one leg than the other or if you feel as though your balance is “off”, this could be contributing to your pain. 

To test your balance I want you to try this test. This is more than just standing on one leg. We have to be able to stand on one leg and move our bodies without losing our balance. 

This ultimate balance challenge can give highlight any potential balance deficits and asymmetries. Keep in mind, this is only one test. You can check out more balance exercises here!

If you notice balance impairments, one of the best thing you can do is add support to your squat! This can include squatting down to a box or a chair, squatting with a TRX band (this is my favorite brand of straps!), or hanging onto a kitchen counter. There are TONS of variations you can try. 

Conclusion

There are a few different reasons that could be contributing to your knee pain during squats. Commonly, pain originates from a combination of things and it is unlikely pain is coming from one singular thing- especially if you have started to experience gradual pain without any injury.

The quickest way to find out why you are having knee pain during squats is to find a physical therapist or movement specialist that can help you answer this very question! The longer you try to ignore this pain, it will likely get worse! 

If you are dealing with knee osteoarthritis and are looking for ways you can build stronger legs without having to worry about  if you are doing the right exercises, hop on over and grab the Knee Osteoarthritis Exercise Guide!

One of the most common things I hear is that people avoid exercise because they are in pain and not sure if what they are doing will cause more damage. Resting is one of the worst things you can do, especially for knee osteoarthritis. It’s time to take action and get control over your knee pain with squats.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

what is knee osteoarthritis

The Ultimate Guide to Knee Osteoarthritis: Where to start, what to expect, and more- The 5 BURNING questions

Knee Osteoarthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis, not wear and tear. There are so many misconceptions out but we are going to make it simple for you. The hardest part about a knee osteoarthritis diagnosis is not knowing where to go next and constantly worrying about if what you are doing is the right thing for pain relief. You will be able to answer: what is knee osteoarthritis, where do I start after a knee osteoarthritis diagnosis, and how do I best help my knee joints! 

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“Per the x-ray we just did, it appears you have knee osteoarthritis.”

“The next thing you need to do is lose weight and start exercising but you won’t ever really be able to stop the progression.”

“I’ll see you back in 6 months.”

Does this sound familiar?! 

I hope it doesn’t, but unfortunately, this is what many people have to go through when getting a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis. 

You go see your family doctor, rheumatologist, or other physician for your knee pain that has been gradually getting worse. Most often they will take an x-ray or even an MRI to rule out any major injuries or reasons for pain. 

They find some arthritic changes in your joint, loss of cartilage and loss of space in the joint itself which you’re told explains your pain. Osteoarthritis.

It can be both scary and overwhelming to hear that word. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen others struggling with this disease and it can be hard to imagine that now it is happening to you. 

The main mission of this ultimate guide is to give you hope. I want to answer your questions, give you the real information you need to know and  show you that your life isn’t over because you have knee osteoarthritis.

I have seen hundreds of people with knee osteoarthritis and have helped them truly understand the best ways to take care of their knees while still living an active, adventurous life.

You’ll learn stories of men and women who overcame knee osteoarthritis and are able to now do things like running, jumping, walking without a cane, and more. This could be possible for you to if you follow these next tips closely.

The keys to success with knee arthritis

Table of Contents

You will learn important steps you need to take in order to manage pain, prevent your knees from getting worse, and how to continue to lead an active life. Not only is it important to learn what these steps are but it is also important to implement them as well. Without action, your pain likely will continue to get worse and it could be a fast track to surgery. 

Make sure you save this post for later and share with your friends when you’re done reading because I promise you, this is your Ultimate Guide to Knee Osteoarthritis.

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

I guarantee the first thing you will see when you type this question into Google is “deterioration of cartilage” or “degeneration of the joint from wear and tear” in almost every article on the first page. You may have even been told these things by medical professionals. 

The truth is, knee osteoarthritis is primarily driven by inflammation and there is emerging recent research out there looking at exactly that.

"The past decade has seen a gradual but fundamental shift in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying OA. We no longer view [osteoarthritis] as a prototypical degenerative disease resulting from normal bodily wear and tear, but rather as a multifactorial disorder in which low-grade, chronic inflammation has a central role"

Robinson et al. 2016

This is actually good news and I’ll explain why.

If osteoarthritis was a degenerative condition caused simply by “wear and tear” you would have no hope for pain relief and everyone that had knee osteoarthritis would end up needing surgery. Also, movement would continue to make the condition worse which is the opposite of what exactly is true. 

Knee osteoarthritis is caused by many different factors that can allow inflammation to become out of control. These factors, then contribute to the further irritation of your knee joints. 

There is a strong genetic component as well but if you are aware of what continues to irritate the joint, you can live with a tolerable level of knee arthritis and prevent it from getting worse. Even though many of us have a family history of the inherent susceptibility to more inflammatory cells, this also means your knee joint is “bad”. Instead, it is just, quite frankly, angry and we can use specific tactics to decrease the amplification of the anger!

Since osteoarthritis has a strong inflammatory background, if we can control the inflammation- we likely can control both the pain and the progression.

Where Do I Need to Start if I Have Been Diagnosed with Knee osteoarthritis?

From the previous section, we know that if we can control inflammation, we can lessen the irritation and our symptoms. In the video above, you will find some ideas to get you started on the path to reducing inflammation in your body. The FIRST step is understanding how you can most easily reduce inflammation from your life.

There are a few ways that are going to help decrease inflammation more significantly than others, so these should become your priorities. It is important to note that each person’s priorities are going to be different depending on how they live their lives. You essentially need to look at three categories and think about which one has the most room for improvement in your own life.

  1. Food: what you are eating, how much you are eating, and are you getting enough nutrients?
  2. Movement: what are you doing for exercise, how often, and how motivated you are when doing it.
  3. Emotion: are you constantly stressed, tired, frustrated, overworked, anxious or overwhelmed? Do you believe nothing can be done about your pain?

Each of these things can impact your levels of inflammation in your body.

If you find yourself eating out quite frequently, frequently binge on processed foods, or are not eating enough- these are all scenarios in which food should be a priority. Check out the best anti-inflammatory foods to get started with here.

If you find yourself avoiding exercise, getting <10 minutes per day of exercise, or if your only exercise is a monostructural movement such as walking, cycling, or running- exercise should be considered a priority. Learn more about how exercise can work wonders for osteoarthritis here.

If you find yourself constantly displaying the emotions above or if you are constantly living life on edge, your emotions could be increasing your inflammation levels.

This is one people commonly do not think about. Let’s look a little deeper into how emotions impact inflammation from Stacey Colino,  an award winning writer, specializing in health and psychology:

"Emotional inflammation refers to the psychological and emotional state of constantly being on edge, angst-ridden, hyper-reactive or hyper-vigilant, full of dread, or generally filled with a WTF!!! feeling about what’s happening in the world. But it does have physiological ripple effects because when you have cortisol coursing through your body 24/7, there’s an inflammatory cascade, where your blood flow and blood pressure increase, your muscles tense up, your heart rate and breathing rate shoot up, and so on."

Stacey Colino

In order to start turning your emotions and working on a positive mindset, this article puts things into perspective

Choosing one of these three items can truly help you get on the right path to long term pain relief. If we try to focus on and change everything at once, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Remember, one step at a time. 

What should I expect with knee osteoarthritis?

When you receive the diagnosis, it can be scary because the future seems unknown to you. You’re not sure what you are going to be feeling and doing years from now. 

The hard part in answering this question is that everyone has different experiences. The severity and impact on your life is highly dependent on how you live your life and your mindset about your osteoarthritis. The path and symptoms if we take action may be completely different than those who didn’t know other options were available. 

Common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are explained here.

You may experience all or just a few of the symptoms mentioned. Here are some other things, not explained in this article you should expect:

  • Discomfort with exercise and other movements like climbing stairs, especially when starting or with a new onset. This pain typically tends to stay around 0-4/10 and is totally normal.
  •  You may experience some swelling, especially after a lot of activity. The swelling should subside after a day or two.
  • You may notice short bouts of significant pain with a flare up. I have known people who had a flare up once a year and those that have them about 1-2 times per month. This is partially dependent on controlling inflammation, the weather outside (increased pain with changes in weather and cold weather). This pain typically lasts 24-72 hours usually followed by full recovery.
  • Appropriate control of inflammation can usually relieve pain up to 80-90%. There may be times where you experience increased pain but this increased pain is usually not significant. This is because most of the time we don’t see it as much of a threat with a positive mindset. 

I know exercise is good, what exercises are the best and which should I avoid?

This is a common question so you are not alone! The goal is to keep your knees happy without flaring them up. This is possible, contrary to popular belief! But the number one thing most people are lacking is…

Vareity.

Many times we are told by healthcare professionals, friends, neighbors, or family that all we can do with knee osteoarthritis is swim and walk. No jumping, no running, no high impact activities ever again. 

That is simply not the case for most people if you can master variety, your joints should be prepared to potentially handle these activities (again, it’s important to remember that everyone is different).

I recently was working with someone who finally returned to running for the first time in 5 years after dedicating herself to strengthening her body to prepare her joints for it! 

The key though, aside from variety is to strengthen not only your knees but other joints as well, particularly hips, ankles, and back/core. With these two principles you are so much more likely to succeed. 

You can add variety lots of different ways to help with your knee osteoarthritis. For example, adding in sideways and backwards movements before or after your walk can absolutely make a difference. If walking is your primary form of exercise, watch this video below to learn exactly how to relieve knee osteoarthritis pain or prevent it from getting worse by adding a few simple things.

Here is a bonus article about how to hike with arthritic knees too! 

If you want to get started on the right foot with exercise, adding in exercises like side stepping, supported squats, and backwards kicks can be a great start. The idea is to find exercises and exercise variations that don’t flare up pain. If you are new to exercise, try this video below to get started. If you love this, we have a 5 day arthritis-friendly challenge that you’ll also LOVE. Sign up here.

What should I look for in my knee osteoarthritis x-ray?

To be quite frank, x-rays don’t really matter. Whenever I see a client for knee osteoarthritis, I usually do not even look at the x-ray. Findings on x-rays like loss of cartilage and loss of joint space don’t necessarily correlate with pain and there has been a lot of research on that. 

For example, one study found that “The prevalence of knee osteoarthritis features on MRI in otherwise healthy, asymptomatic, uninjured knees is high— up to 43% in adults aged ≥40 years.” This means that there are people walking around out there that would have changes on their MRI similar to those found in patients with knee arthritis but they don’t have pain. 

So the question is, why do some have pain and others don’t with the same “joint damage”. This is where inflammation, lifestyle factors, and genetics comes in. The more inflammation we have, the more likely we are to have pain. 

Instead of focusing and tediously looking into our x-rays, instead we should look at why we are in pain compared to someone who may have an x-ray that looks similar to ours. The findings on our x-rays may show normal signs of aging and this may not be the reason we are in pain.

For example, one woman who I have been working with had an x-ray that showed a minor meniscus injury and beginnings of knee arthritis due to lessening of the cartilage and narrowing of the joint space. A surgeon wanted to schedule surgery almost immediately but instead she went the natural route and now guess what….she’s the one RUNNING again. 

X-rays are not what we should base our thinking on, even if it is “bone on bone” or the “worst we have ever seen” (trust me if I had a dime for every time I heard that a client was told their knee was the “worst they have ever seen and they have no idea how you are even walking”, I’d be on a beach somewhere living in the Virgin Islands.

What does my future look like?

It is possible for your pain to become tolerable and plateau. Knee osteoarthritis pain does not have to progress. You’re pain doesn’t have to get worse if you can find ways to outsmart it.

Mindset plays a huge role in this. If you sit back and think, “there is just nothing I can do about this knee osteoarthritis pain, it runs in my family” then you need to hear this.

All too often we succumb to our arthritis pain because we simply don’t know that there are options available to us for pain relief. We also continue to believe that the long list of things that we think we can’t do has to dictate our lives.

There are options for pain relief and possibilities are out there, even if you have knee osteoarthritis! Understanding your osteoarthritis, learning how to manage it, and having a positive mindset are absolutely the most important keys to success when finding relief.

If you would love to join a supportive community of people 50+ who have arthritis but are looking to remain active and healthy, come join us! 

What about stem cells for arthritis pain relief?

Stem cells for arthritis pain relief is a common option people find when searching for treatments that are available. Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy can be an alternative to surgery with less risk as they accelerate your body’s own healing process in a noninvasive way. 

There are considerations to be made when it comes to considering if stem cell therapy is the right choice for you. A few of these considerations include: 

  • this procedure is not typically covered by insurance providers and can be pricey
  • you may need to go in for more than one procedure
  • similar to cortisone shots, results are not guaranteed
  • this option carries much less risk compared to other surgical procedures
  • there has been great success for select patients
  • leading an active, healthy lifestyle will maximize your results including exercise, weight loss, and proper nutrition

So what is stem cell therapy like? What can I expect?

You can expect short, non-invasive procedures like having blood drawn. Once the harvesting is done, the physician will often use an ultrasound or fluoroscopy to precisely target and inject the stem cells into the injured area. You may experience some pain and swelling right after the procedure. Depending on the severity of your condition and the procedure done, you may recover within as little as 1-2 days. More severe problems will require more significant procedures and longer recovery. Many patients experience results within a few weeks and continue to see the improvement until about four months.

Joe Albano, MD and regenerative medicine specialist in Cottonwood Heights, UT

For more information, check out a very informative interview I did with Dr. Albano to answer your questions regarding stem cell therapy, PRP injections and more!

Are you believing myths about knee osteoarthritis?

One of the biggest problems we find when asking people about their knee pain is that they are believing the wrong things! When we believe these myths to be true, that’s when we can find ourselves in trouble. They can actually be making our pain WORSE.

Here’s the deal: Understanding the truths about knee pain can set you free. There are 3 main myths we find almost everyone believes. Want to see if you have been believing the wrong things, inevitably making your pain worse? Download our free guide below! 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

exercise for degenerative disc disease

Exercise for Degenerative Disc Disease: The 11 BEST Exercises to FINALLY Unlock PAIN RELIEF

Contrary to popular belief, exercise for degenerative disc disease is one of the most efficient ways to reduce pain. The first thing we typically give up when we have pain is movement which is detrimental to our health. Exercise helps to increase the strength and resiliency of the discs between our vertebrae (bones in our spine). It also helps build muscle to support the spine. It is important to know that some exercises are better than others when it comes to degenerative disc disease and it is crucial to know where to start if you want pain relief!

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If you were asked the question: “If your back pain was gone tomorrow, what is the first thing you would do?” what would be your answer? 

I asked this question to a large group of people dealing with degenerative disc disease and got a variety of answers, some of which you might be able to relate to! Here are some of the answers that were given:

  • hiking
  • playing with grandchildren
  • running with dogs
  • deep cleaning the house
  • go for a nice, long walk
  • get through the work day pain-free
  • jump on the trampoline
  • ride horses
  • finally feel free again, live like there is no tomorrow without restrictions
Now think of the one thing you would like to and hear me out.

Learn the possibilities

When looking back at these answers it makes me wonder, where did our medical model go wrong with degenerative disc disease? Most of these people are left thinking they will never be able to do these activities without pain; even simple activities like walking and cleaning the house! 

Degenerative disc disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It doesn’t have to force you to live your life from the couch. But many of us don’t realize that it is an option to return to hiking, or walking, or even running! The quote below gives you a hopeful and optimistic perspective to get you thinking of the possibilities.

Despite what the name suggests, degenerative disc disease is not a disease, but a condition in which natural, age-related wear-and-tear on a disc causes pain, instability, and other symptoms. This condition usually does not result in long-term disability, and most cases can be managed using non-surgical treatment methods.

Brian McHugh, MD

Now that we have cleared that up, let’s chat about what we can do about this pain! This is why I want to show you how to exercise for degenerative disc disease. If we totally give up exercise or if we start with the wrong type of exercise, you could easily end up with more pain. BUT if you find the right type of exercise and build the confidence you need, you can thrive

If you would like to know what you should avoid, check out this post first.

Exercise for Degenerative disc disease: the top 11

When looking through these, it is important to remember that not every exercise may work for you and that is totally normal. Each person is different. When completing these, they should not cause more pain above a low level discomfort. If you experience pain >5/10, your body is telling you it isn’t ready for it yet.

Discomfort is normal and expected when starting a new exercise program. Likely with more reps the pain will go away or it will stay the same. If pain increases significantly, it’s okay! Simply stop and choose a new exercise. There are thousands of exercises to choose from.

In my years of experience, I have found these exercises to be more beneficial than stretches for back pain. The more dynamic the movement, the more muscle memory your body can gain, leading to longer term pain relief.

Here we go! 

Table of Contents

1. Raised, supported plank with marches

One of the most important things to prioritize is to build your core strength and stamina to be able to better protect your spine. The TRX bodyweight suspension bands are one of our favorite ways to add the right amount of support to exercise. This can avoid flaring up your pain.

You will be pushing through your shoulders and keeping your hips level while you alternate the marches. The higher you bring your legs up, the harder the exercise will be. Start with holding for 15 seconds and progress to 60 seconds as able. 

If you don’t have a set of these awesome straps and you would like to get rid of your degenerative disc disease pain at home, snag a set here

2. Thoracic rotation

No matter where you degenerative disc disease is at the moment, your upper back will likely affect it. For example, if you have cervical degenerative disc disease leading to neck pain, your upper back plays an integral part in the ability to find relief. Same goes with lower back pain. 

This exercise offers an easy way to open up the upper spine. It typically gets stiff when we sit to long, especially in a not-so-great posture. When doing this exercise, you want both sides to feel the same. If you are tighter on one side compared to the other, it likely is contributing to your pain in one way or the other. Complete 8-10 reps on the tighter side.

If both feel similar in range of motion, you can complete 8 reps on each side.

3. Lateral steps bodyweight

In daily life, we don’t find ourselves moving sideways very often. The problem with this is that the muscles that are responsible for lateral movement in the hips become weakened. This can then lead to more back pain.

The idea is to incorporate more lateral movements into your day and give those muscles some love! This is the basic movement you must master if you have back pain related to degenerative disc disease.

If you have a hard time, you can use support of a kitchen counter as well. We want to make sure you aren’t limping while doing this as again, you may have more difficulty on one side than the other. Complete at least 15-20 reps each side or until you begin to feel it in the outsides of your hips. 

4. Lateral banded stepping

Taking the above exercise one step further, grab a resistance band and try the lateral steps again. You want to aim for accumulating at least 20-30 total steps at a time, alternating directions. 

If you don’t have a set of resistance bands, grab some here (they are TOTALLY worth it). 

5. Supine isometric hip flexion

This is a great exercise for degenerative disc disease because often with back pain, your hips can become very tight. 

Instead of stretching these hip flexor muscles, you will gain so much more out of contracting and relaxing the muscles instead! Try this exercise below, 5-8 reps on both sides, holding for at least 5 seconds.

6. Standing isometric hip flexion

Taking the above exercise and increasing the difficulty, grab a resistance band and give this a try. The standing isometric hip flexor exercise is great once you have mastered the above exercise without exacerbating hip or back pain.

Your hips are directly tied into how your spine moves so it is important to make sure your hips are healthy.

Start with a lighter resistance band and progress as you are able to control the movement. Hang onto something for support if needed as balance should not be the limiter for this exercise. Hold for 3-5 seconds for each rep, up to 5-10 reps.

7. Prone back extension

Strengthening your back muscles can be great for your spine, if you can tolerate this position. Only go up as far as you can. Lift up your arms, try to lift your chest off of the ground, and slowly come back down.

Complete up to 5-10 reps, until you feel fatigue in your back muscles. The stronger your muscles are, the more supported your spine will feel! 

8. Supported TRX chair squat

The TRX straps are back and can be extremely helpful when attempting to squat without pain. The best way to go about squatting is to lead with your hips. Keep your weight in your heels and your chest up. 

Complete 10-15 reps or until you feel fatigue in your thighs and hips. To progress in difficulty, complete the chair squat without the TRX straps.

If you want to know more exercises to  do with the TRX straps, check out this article here.

9. Banded wall walks

Posture is another key aspect to relieving pain related to degenerative disc disease. The stronger your shoulders are, the better your upper back and neck will feel! 

Start with a lighter resistance band and walk your hands up as far as is comfortable. Keep pressure on the outsides of the band.

Complete 4-8 reps, up and down the wall, or until you feel shoulder and upper back fatigue. 

10. Side plank

We love this variation for the side plank because it is doable even with degenerative disc disease. Building strong obliques (your side ab muscles) can be extremely important when relieving back pain.

You can use the stairs, a couch, a bed, or another raised surface to complete this side plank. Try to hold for 15-30 seconds at a time. Keep your hips lifted up as high as you can throughout this movement.

11. Balance band pass

Balance is essential to keeping your hips and knees healthy. If you don’t feel confident in your balance, this exercise is for you! 

Use a resistance band or any other household object and pass it back and forth. It is important to master the position of one foot in front of the other but it is crucial to be able to maintain your balance when moving.

Try to hold for at least 30 seconds on each side.

Are you ready to start exercise for degenerative disc disease?

These are the top 11 exercises for degenerative disc disease and are a great place to start to improve leg strength, postural strength, and core strength to help your spine feel more support! 

Start gradually and increase difficulty as you are able. Again, discomfort is normal to experience especially when beginning but significant pain is a warning sign from your body that you’re doing too much. 

You want to aim to workout at least 10-15 minutes per day for at least 3-4 days when beginning, progressing to 5 days a week. 

Beginning exercise is one of the first steps but understanding what degenerative disc disease can be pivotal in your journey to finding pain relief. Degenerative disc disease can mimic the typical signs of osteoarthritis. We have a FREE Ultimate Arthritis Guide will tell you EXACTLY what you need to know about arthritis. 

The more you understand about arthritis, the quicker you will experience pain relief. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Your adventure is waiting, it’s time to revive it. 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

arthritis must haves

TOP 11 Arthritis MUST HAVES if you are looking for pain relief

Gathered from those dealing with arthritis pain, here is a list of the arthritis must haves that you need if you are looking for joint pain relief. What if you could build a toolbox to help you confidently navigate your arthritis pain? What if you had options during your flare ups and when stiffness becomes relentless? This list is made for you. Check out these top 15 arthritis must haves and start building your toolbox! 

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Build your toolbox, build your confidence.

The more options you have, the more confiendent you will feel about your pain relief.

I met Debbie* a while back and she was dealing with unrelenting knee and hip pain. The worst was when she experienced flare-ups. She felt hopeless every time she went through one because her pain just wouldn’t go away.

When we met, she was desperate for answers and desperate to get out of pain without having surgery. I asked her what her plan was each time she had a flare up. She said “try to get through the day”. 

When we met, she was desperate for answers and desperate to get out of pain without having surgery. I asked her what her plan was each time she had a flare up. She said “try to get through the day”. 

What she didn’t realize is that she had options. She had tried searching online but was so overwhelmed. There were so many different products, supplements, medications, etc. She didn’t even know where to start. She tried a few things but nothing worked for her. She was continually disappointed because these products would work maybe for a week, then her pain would come back. 

She sought us out for help and for guidance. She just wanted someone to tell her a way that works. She wanted to stop failing with pain relief. She wanted something that worked.

Now, she has a cheat sheet. Now, she knows exactly what to do for pain relief. When she has a flare up, she knows how to break free from the pain confidently. She knows what works. 

What if you could experience the same results? What if you had your own cheat sheet? We will tell you that no one has the same cheat sheet. 

In this post we want to help you start building your own cheat sheet by giving you the top 10 arthritis must haves that have worked for our clients previously and could work for you too! 

TOP 11 Arthritis Must Haves List

Arthritis Must-Haves #1: 

Voltaren: This topical cream can bring you pain relief by rubbing it on each of the affected areas. Our arthritis adventurers have told us that it has brought temporary pain relief to knees, hands, and lower backs. 

It works best if you are planning on walking longer distances or being on your feet for longer periods of time. It can help you get through the activity without being distracted by pain.

It can also help with recovery after a day of overactivity or even during a flare up. You rub the lotion on the affected area and experience pain relief through a cooling sensation, similar to a Biofreeze or other topical ointment like 4jointz (you can see my video review here). 

We like this product because it’s a topical medication and has very limited side effects. The most adverse being a skin reaction or rash. 

It is great to have this cream in your pain relief tool box because if you are in a pinch and need some quick relief, this can help. The one thing it likely won’t help with is stiffness. If joint stiffness is your biggest problem keep scrolling! 

Arthritis Must-Haves #2: 

Resistance loops: If you know us, you know that we put a high value on movement and strengthening in order to find arthritis relief. If you can show your body it can move confidently and pain free, you have opened the door to living successfully with arthritis. 

These resistance loops are very inexpensive and are versatile. There are many beneficial exercises you can do with these no matter the type of arthritis. Whether you are having shoulder pain, low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, or ankle pain these loops can bring you pain relief with a consistent exercise routine. 

Keep in mind, you likely will not get immediate relief but you will get lasting relief. Allowing yourself 10-15 minutes per day to show your body how it is supposed to be moving can be a game changer for your pain. You can have this arthritis must have for less that $20! 

Here are some introductory videos if you are thinking “Okay, these bands are great but what the heck do I do with them?!” We got you covered. 

Arthritis Must Haves #3:

Compression can make painful joints feel good, like really good. Think about how you feel when you get a hug (from someone you want to be hugging you). You feel good! 

Think of compression as giving your joint a hug. It just so happens that the sensors in your body that sense pain are the same ones that sense compression. By giving our joints compression, we dull some or most of the pain. 

There are a variety of different types depending on where your pain primarily resides. There are compression socks, compression knee sleeves, compression hip sleeves, compression gloves and compression back braces. 

We usually recommend getting a compression sleeve or brace without any hard pieces in it. Especially for the knee, there are braces that contain hard plastic pieces. These tend to alter movement and may not be the right movements for you and your pain. The only caveat to this is if you were prescribed one of these braces or if you have tried compression sleeves before with no luck for pain relief. 

These are relatively inexpensive and might be worth splurging an extra $20-30 to get a quality product. There are lots of cheaper options that may not provide enough support. 

These are great in 3 scenarios. 

One, if you are planning lots of activity- walking, running, weight lifting, etc these can feel really nice and prevent swelling along with pain. 

Two, when it’s cold out, they can help keep joints warm which can make a drastic difference to pain. This can also help in the morning, for example when your hand feel very stiff or cold in the winter months.

Three, they can help manage stiffness and swelling because the compression sleeve will only allow a certain amount of fluid to collect (this is why many wear those tall compression stockings after surgery or when on their feet for a long time to prevent gravity from pulling too much fluid down to the ankles). 

For less than $50, they are absolutely worth a try and are at the top of our arthritis must haves list.

Arthritis must-haves #4: 

Appropriate footwear: Shoes can play a huge part in how your joint feels the stress from walking, running, exercising, etc. Without the right support or in absence of support with older, worn out shoes- your joints are likely taking more force than they should. Over time, this can contribute to increased pain. 

We met a brand recently that we fell in love with. Dr. Alyssa Kuhn wears their shoes almost every day. One of our clients is also a proud supporter of the local Salt Lake City brand, Kuru Footwear. These shoes were designed to give you the right amount of arch support and even help with plantar fasciitis prevention which can be common with knee or foot arthritis. 

“I used to deal with bouts of plantar fasciitis every couple of years but since I began wearing these shoes, I haven’t dealt with any pain. This is even when I have tried lots of new exercises and almost doubled the time I have been exercising. I am so thankful.” 

These shoes come in a variety of styles and are available for both men and women. 

If you are struggling with finding the right shoe for you or if you have had your current shoes for longer than 1 year (depending on how many steps you put on them), we stand behind this brand. Finding a good pair of shoes can truly be a game changer to your pain levels, especially when you feel like you have tried everything else. 

 

Arthritis must haves #5:

Kettlebell: If you have arthritis it is crucial that you have options for exercise. If you have been following us, you likely know just how important exercise is. If you are new to us, read this blog post about WHY exercise is beneficial. 

Instead of having a ton of different sets of dumbbells, instead 1 or 2 kettlebells can be extremely effective. Kettlebells are versatile and offer lots of options for training no matter your fitness level or your pain severity. 

These allow you to add external weight once you have mastered bodyweight movements to take your strengthening to the next level. This is more than just how much weight you can lift though. 

If you can start adding external weight to these movements without pain, you can do so much more. For example, completing weighted squats can translate to climbing stairs without pain, picking a laundry basket up from the floor, and squatting down to play with your grandchildren with the ability to get back up! 

Kettlebells can give us confidence. Take it from one of our hardest working clients. He went from the inability to do a squat without significant knee and back pain to doing one with a 25# kettlebell 30 times without pain! Now he climbs stairs without pain and can actually enjoy hiking with his family- up and down the inclines. 

If you are looking for ideas on where to start with a kettlebell, we have a great introductory video. If you are familiar and are looking for some new exercises, we have the perfect 3 part series for you!  

 

Arthritis must haves #6:

Red light therapy: According to our private Facebook community, red light therapy may be the missing link to your pain relief. It is starting to gain traction in the arthritis world. You essentially use a special red light on your painful joints for 10-15 minutes at a time for a few times per day.

Take it from an arthritis sufferer herself:

It is important to understand that this light alone may not bring you pain relief. As she describes above, she used it in supplement to physical therapy for the best results. It’s one of those things that can bring serious relief to some and may not be as effective for others.

“When infrared heat hits the targeted area, the warmth opens up the capillaries, improves the circulation, which It’s effective for temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain.”

Here is the one that she recommends!

Vanessa, an arthritis sufferer said, “I had problem with my knee swelling and “slipping” because of a muscular imbalance from a foot surgery and the tendlite offered immediate pain relief. I don’t use my light any more because physical therapy helped immensely with pain relief. But if I ever have pain,I use the light and it works. My physical therapist says it has different results for various people but for me it worked.

When I was in extreme pain, I followed the guidelines and did it 2 times a day 3 times per part- it’s a small light and to do one knee it was 2 cycles on top, above and below patella, both sides of patella, and the back of knee. After one day I felt great and I kept doing the treatment for a few weeks. I was also in PT so as I grew stronger, the pain lessened. I don’t use it as often but sometimes my knees get aggravated if I stand and walk around all day. I do it after and in conjunction with rest it works.”

Arthritis must haves #7:

Tumeric supplements have benefits for osteoarthritis pain by tackling and preventing inflammation. Many people have been able to find joint pain relief using this supplement, but again keep in mind that everyone is different. It is another option to have in your tool box, especially if it brings great results for you. 

According to arthritis.org, “In 2016, an industry-sponsored systematic review of randomized controlled trials found that 1,000 mg a day of curcumin reduced OA [Osteoarthritis] pain and inflammation as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like diclofenac and ibuprofen. Another 2016 study suggests curcumin might help prevent bone breakdown in people with RA [Rheumatoid Arthritis].”

It’s important to talk to your physician before beginning Tumeric or another supplement, especially if you are taking blood thinners.

Arthritis must haves #8:

Heating pad: Have you ever thought, “wow my heating pad is my best friend through this” or “I don’t know what I would do without my heating pad”? Maybe you don’t own a heating pad if you haven’t 🙂

I hear this from clients all the time that heat can be a life saver especially during painful flare ups. Heat is one of those things that has almost zero side effects (besides potential for burning skin if on for too long- which is why we don’t recommend sleeping with one on).

Heat can bring some serious relief. The idea is that heat helps to induce relaxation. It creates more blood flow to the painful area and reduces joint pain and stiffness. Heat is great in the morning, at night after a long day, or during periods of time you just can’t get rid of pain.

There’s not necessarily a specific time that you should use it for but it’s usually around the 20-30 minute mark. This also heavily depends on how hot it gets. If you have it on a low setting you can typically keep it on for longer.

Arthritis must haves #9:

Jar opener: this recommendation is for those who are having trouble with hand pain or stiffness. This jar opener comes recommended by one of our friends who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

Have you ever avoided eating something or using something because you got so frustrated with the jar?? 

Especially if you have difficulty using your hands because of pain and/or stiffness, jars can be a nightmare. This tool can make it easy to open a variety of jars and can ease frustrations! 

Arthritis must haves #10:

TENS unit: This can be especially helpful for lower back pain and degenerative disc disease. If your back regularly feels tight, a TENs unit can help to give you some relief.

You attach electrode patches to specific parts on your back that encompass the painful area. It is then usually set to a lower setting which creates small muscle contractions in the area underneath. Pain relief is created when your muscles contract and relax which helps to reduce tension.

Again, the side effects are minimal as long as you read the instructions, especially if you are doing it yourself! Check out this one here.

We recommend trying TENs units if you are have difficulty with pain control and relieving joint stiffness. If you are standing or sitting for longer periods of time because of work or some other task where getting up or changing positions is difficult, you may benefit from one of these! 

For better, longer lasting results, make sure you accompany this TENs unit with a proper exercise program. You may find yourself on a hamster wheel of temporary pain relief if not. If you would like some direction on the best way t accomplish this, let us know by scheduling a free call here.

Arthritis Must Haves #11: 

CBD Hemp Oil: CBD oil has been a new emerging way people are finding pain relief. There are many different brands and ways to apply whether its an oil, topical rub, or tablet. 

The idea is that not only can it reduce actual joint pain but it can also reduce anxiety and stress related to chronic pain. It can also help with memory and relaxation. There are many proposed benefits, but again, it does not work for everyone. 

In our opinion, after you speak with your physician, it’s worth a try to see if you are able to reap any of the benefits. Many have said it helps with pain and during/after activity to prevent pain flares. 

Conclusion:

There are many things out there have potential to ease your pain, stress, and stiffness related to osteoarthritis. This list has been vetted by our clients and supporters to help bring you the best list of arthritis must haves. Most of these tools work best when accompanied with an appropriate exercise routine and appropriate diet. Read this blog to find out more about the direct benefits of exercise along with how to best build an arthritis-friendly home gym for less than $200

If you would like more information about the BEST anti-inflammatory foods, we have created a FREE download for you to make it easy to see which foods you should be eating! Download it below. 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site. This article contains affiliate links that bring us a small commission without any extra cost to you. 

physical therapy for osteoarthritis

Why You Need A BETTER Approach to Physical Therapy for Osteoarthritis 2021

Physical therapy for osteoarthritis can be extremely effective with the right approach. Research shows “…participation in an exercise and education intervention while on the waiting list for TKA (total knee arthroplasty) may cause some patients with end-stage OA (osteoarthritis) to gain sufficient control over the pain so that they no longer feel they need surgery” Commonly, people fail with traditional physical therapy without understanding why they are doing what they are prescribed and the level of importance related to reducing arthritis pain. You could be missing out on significant pain relief and you could even avoid premature surgery! Let’s look what you could gain from a better, more detailed approach.

It’s time to look at physical therapy for osteoarthritis in a different light. Instead of just “fixing your pain” let’s change your life.

When you think of physical therapy, what are your initial thoughts? 

  • fixing pain with exercises
  • somewhere I go when I get hurt
  • helping athletes getting back to sport

Sound familiar? Many people have a perception that you go to physical therapy once you are injured to get better. Instead, getting ahead of pain, especially in a condition such as osteoarthritis can be a matter of requiring surgery or not. It can be a matter of being able to keep up with your grandkids or not. It can be a matter of keeping your adventure alive or living your life from the couch.

You need much more than movement to heal. You need support, you need guidance, you need confidence. This doesn’t all come from movement. As a physical therapist, we can offer so much more than that. Take a look at these comments from real patients:

  • “Thank you for all of your hard work and especially your emotional support…this has been a very difficult road for me to travel. You were a gift to me, thank you soooo much!”
  • “I have had shoulder pain for so many years from working in the factory I never thought it was ever going away. Everything has been so hard on me, especially living alone. You’re the first person to actually listen. I never thought my shoulder could ever feel this good again, ever”.
  • “I cannot thank you enough for finally giving me the confidence to go to church again and see all of my friends I haven’t seen in ages. I used to be so fearful due to pain but now I can finally enjoy myself again, and I even like to exercise again!”

Life is hard. Pain is frustrating. Illness can be emotional. We need so much more than just exercise.

Many times I hear from people that when they go for traditional medical care whether its a hospital, office setting, emergency room, etc. that they are able to see someone face to face let alone get answers to their questions. People are usually only able to see physicians for very short periods of time, 5-10 minutes if you’re lucky. 

In that short time, there is no way anyone is going to be able to learn about you. They might learn about your condition, but not about you. They don’t have time to learn about what you really want, what your pain is really stopping you from doing.

When this occurs, patients usually end up scouring Google, asking friends/family, and spending tons of money on things that only lead to temporary relief. This is where the problem lies. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. This is why we have made it our mission to give a research-based, highly skilled way to get proper information about osteoarthritis.

Once we begin down the rabbit hole of misinformation, beliefs can trigger more pain, more stress, and feelings of hopelessness. This then leads to surgeries done way too early and dependency on pain medications.

What if instead, you could break this cycle and actually prevent surgeries? With a new approach to physical therapy for osteoarthritis we totally can.

There is hope for osteoarthritis sufferers, you just have to be connected with the right health professionals to realize it.

Let’s take this patient example.

Here we will see the vital role that physical therapy can play when approached from a different angle. This is a real patient of mine (name excluded).

She had chronic knee pain for “a long time”, had a history of a car accident which led to a long road of repeated back surgeries, pain, and depression. Always in constant pain. Nothing worked. She was tossed around from different medical professionals with no answers and no results.

We completed a movement assessment and did all of our typical physical therapy things. Then, we just talked. She shared her story. What stood out to me was her constant stress fueled by frustrations around her pain. She had given up on regular movement and exercise and adopted an inflammatory diet that had led her down a spiraling path of weight gain, poor movement, and emotional distress.

None of her physicians or surgeons had ever asked her how the pain was impacting her life, what the pain was stopping her from, or what she wanted to get out of pain for.

Instead, physical therapists have the ability to go in deeper. We can ask these questions aside from your pain levels. With this new approach, we no longer are seeing 3 patients at once. Think about it. What do you actually like, what do you hate, what motivates you most? What would your life really look like if you didn’t have to worry about pain all the time? How would you feel? 

Understanding these questions helps to create a better plan. Instead of just going through the motions, we not can help you get out of pain but also to stay out of pain.

The story continues…

We came up with a plan.  Getting her knee better meant seeing her grandchildren more, being able to take care of them. Going to the grocery store herself without needing someone to go with her to help carry the groceries inside. Planning a new family vacation as she could finally walk through the airport and enjoy walking on the beach again.

These goals were motivating enough for her to set aside a few minutes a day to complete the exercises that would heal her knee more efficiently. We also made walking one of her primary exercises as she loved walking around the block to see her neighbors, used it as social time- which helped her do it more often.

Guess what? Now her knee is better than it ever has been before. She was motivated, confident, and ready to plan that vacation. Stress levels were down, she was sleeping better, feeling better for the first time in YEARS.

Physical therapy for osteoarthritis is more than just giving exercises to treat you when you get hurt.

Here at Keep the Adventure Alive, we have the time to get to know you, understand your fears, what keeps you up at night, what stresses you out. If we don’t find these things, pain won’t go away. Unfortunately, most traditional physical therapy clinics don’t have the time and instead your pain will be masked by medication and massage, and likely will just keep coming back. 

We are so passionate about giving people their life back. It’s more than just getting rid of pain. It’s being able to travel with family again, being able to go up and down stairs in your own home without pain. It’s taking that long hike that you have always wanted to do. It’s seeing your friends more often. Those things are so much more important. What would getting rid of pain help you do?

Say to yourself today, “I am done dealing with this pain and I want my life back”. Commit to it.

And say it again.

Imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t have to deal with constant pain.

Once you’re committed, let us guide you on your journey of freeing yourself from the burden of pain and lead a life you want. We can do this together.

Physical therapy is more than just treating your injury with a few exercises. So stop waiting! Let’s make the leap today.

The next step is to schedule a free call with Dr. Alyssa Kuhn where she learns more about you and your goals. Keep the Adventure Alive has a variety of program options and we want to make sure you are on the right path to success.

Learn more about us on our instagram here:

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

baker's cyst behind the knee

5 Things You Need to Know About A Baker’s Cyst Behind the Knee

A baker’s cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a fluid filled sac that forms behind the knee that is commonly seen in those that have knee osteoarthritis. This is likely because with knee osteoarthritis there is a disturbance in the knee mechanics by the lack of muscular support which can cause an increase in production of fluid in the joint. This leads to a baker’s cyst. These are rarely dangerous and likely more annoying than anything with pain and limited range of motion as typical side effects. Baker’s cysts behind the knees don’t typically require surgical intervention and likely can be treated with physical therapy, movement, heat or ice and other ways to reduce inflammation.

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Have you ever noticed a small to medium sized bump behind your knee? 

Have you noticed that it is harder to straighten your knee recently?

Has the back of your knee been bothering you? 

These can all be signs of a potential baker’s cyst, also called a popliteal cyst. Popliteal is another name for the back of your knee in case you were wondering! The term Baker’s Cyst came from British surgeon William Morant Baker

What is it? 

A Baker’s Cyst occurs when there is a build up on a joint fluid, also called synovial fluid that herniates out behind your knee. This sac then fills with fluid and a substance called “fibrin”. This fibrin blocks the fluid from returning to the knee, acting as a one-way valve. Thus, creates a gelatinous sac. 

These cysts are rarely dangerous and don’t usually require surgery. Here are the top 5 things you need to know about a baker’s cyst behind the knee. Knowing these things will give you peace of mind knowing that you understand what to look for and when to take action.

Table of Contents

1. What causes a baker's cyst behind the knee?

Baker's Cyst Behind the knee
Photo from: https://www.chrisbaileyorthopaedics.com/blog/the-bakers-cyst-what-is-it-and-will-it-go-away/

There are a few different situations when it is common to see one of these fluid-filled sacs form behind your knee.

One explanation is that up to 50% of people have a valve opening in the joint capsule at the back of the knee. Fluid is able to flow into the sac but is unable to flow back into the knee which poses a problem. 

You can also have one of these valves form from a previous injury or other condition. For example, according to the research…

“Knee pathologies that have been linked to Baker’s cysts include the presence of meniscus tears, size of effusion, osteoarthritis, chondral lesions, inflammatory arthritis, and anterior cruciate ligament tears. Of these disorders, meniscus tears are most frequently associated with popliteal cysts.”

 

As mentioned above, it is common to see a Baker’s Cyst form after a medial meniscal tear as it is usually accompanied by swelling of fluid and can create an opening for fluid to flow out of the joint. 

It also has been heard of forming after a total knee replacement, likely indicating a failed procedure in some cases.

How the cyst fills

Essentially what happens is when you bend your knee, the fluid flows into the sac. When you extend or straighten it, the cyst gets compressed between two muscles in your calf and brings it closer to the surface. It also contributes to the stiffness when trying to straighten your knee.

Commonly a baker’s cyst behind the knee can fill and refill at certain times which is why it may bother you only at certain times.

2. What does it feel like?

This is helpful to know so you know what you are dealing with along with potential complications. 

Common symptoms of a Baker’s or Popliteal Cyst include:

  • palpable sac in the back of your knee 
  • stiffness and difficulty when straightening your leg
  •  swelling in the back of your knee 

One of the ways to see if you may have one is to bend your knee, the mass should disappear. When you try to straighten your leg, the mass should reappear. This is called the Foucher Sign. If the mass stays no matter what position your knee is in, it may be a different diagnosis. 

In some cases, the cyst could become inflamed and larger in shape. If you begin to experience calf swelling and/or pain, warmth, sharp pain in your knee, or “a sensation that feels like water running down the calf”, numbness or tingling it could be a sign of something more dangerous and further medical workup may be necessary. Without intervention, the cyst could rupture. 

It is important to monitor your symptoms to avoid further complications. Watch the size of the baker’s cyst behind the knee to make sure it is not growing significantly.

3. What you should do about it

There are a couple of different options for treatment, but before deciding it is best to talk to a medical professional for personalized advice. 

If the cyst is small enough, you may not notice any or have very minor limitations. In this situation, likely no intervention is necessary unless you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. 

To prevent pain and range of motion deficits from getting worse, you can try these tips below: 

  • Working on mobility and flexibility will help to keep your range of motion for further deteriorating. Specific exercises will be described in the next section. 
  • Following an anti-inflammatory diet to keep inflammation and swelling levels down would be very helpful- here are some ideas
  • Ice could help to reduce the inflammation and pain
  • Compression from a compression sleeve or ACE wrap can help to reduce swelling 

If you start to experience more pain, significant loss of range of motion, or increasing stiffness, you have a few options:

  • Cortisone injection accompanied by aspiration (draining of the cyst) can help to reduce inflammation and can reduce the size of the cyst ut the recurrence rate is likely high. 
  • Surgical options such as cyst decompression or meniscal repair can be helpful to reduce the severity of the cyst but risk of recurrence is still there.  

There is a high risk for recurrence of the cyst with the different treatment options. There is a chance that the cyst may also go away on its own using the management tips above. 

4. How to Improve knee range of motion

Building a good relationship with movement can have significant benefits on those dealing with Baker’s Cysts behind the knee. There are certain movements that can help you to maintain range of motion in your knee and keep inflammation down. 

There are 3 exercises to start with. The most important thing is to maintain the ability to straighten your leg. If you begin to lose range of motion you may notice limping, difficulty walking, or difficulty climbing stairs because one leg is technically shorter than the other.

Terminal knee extension is a great place to start for most. There may be some discomfort and that is normal. If you notice significant pain, if may not be the right exercise for you and that’s okay! 

Knee bends and straight leg raise is an exercise will help keep your knee bending and straightening without increasing pain. The idea is to complete 10-15 reps of this exercise, trying to reach maximum bend and maximum extension without forcing the joint. 

Supported squats can be helpful as a weight bearing exercise. Adding the support improves your form and decreases joint pain. When you stand up, attempt to straighten your legs as much as possible. The goal is to complete 10-15 reps bending and straightening your legs as much as possible.

5. Be active in the approach to knee arthritis

It is important to continue to stay active in your approach to knee osteoarthritis. It is common that Baker’s Cysts are accompanied with knee osteoarthritis complicating the risks of limited range of motion and knee pain. Taking control of your symptoms and being proactive can be help with pain and stiffness significantly.

Have you ever felt lost in where to start with trying to control your knee osteoarthritis? Do you feel bogged down because everyone is telling you something different? 

Knee arthritis can be tricky and there is a lot of information out there to weed through, it can truly be overwhelming. Especially adding on a baker’s cyst behind the knee, it can make the process a little more complicated. 

Over and over again, we find the easiest first steps is to find movements that your body likes. Once your body starts to feel confidence with movement again, you no longer have to dread every step you take! 

One woman came to us with difficulty walking that became severe enough that she was using a cane. She felt like she had been trying everything, she was exercising, dieting, doing it all! She still had pain though and her pain wasn’t getting any better…

After just a few short weeks, she was able to walk without her cane and she was able to finally find pain relief. 

So what was she missing?! What was the secret? 

She wasn’t focusing on the right movements. The exercises she was spending her time doing were only working certain muscles while neglecting other muscles. Variety is key and it is what at least 75% of those with knee arthritis miss.

If you want to avoid making this same mistake and stop wasting your time doing the wrong things, get started on our simple Knee Osteoarthritis Program today.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

dr alyssa kuhn author

Order Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s published book and learn how to rock the later years with fitness and mindset! This book was created to empower, motivate, and educate on how you can continue to Move Well and Age Well. 

Osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis: Complete Guide 2021

Understanding osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis is important because it can significantly impact treatment. Osteoarthritis is a complex biological disease of the contents that make up a joint, instead of the popular “wear and tear” theory, particularly in knee and hip joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a dysfunction of the immune system that leads to increased inflammation, particularly in smaller joints. Both conditions have distinct symptoms aside from the symptoms they share including pain and functional disability. Osteoarthritis is best treated conservatively with diet, exercise, and intermittent pharmacological intervention while rheumatoid arthritis depends more heavily on pharmacological treatment. Let’s look at the differences.

If you’re dealing with joint pain that doesn’t seem to be going away, all of these questions might start flooding in including: 

  1. Do I have arthritis? 
  2. There are so many kinds, how do I know which one I have?
  3. What can I do about said arthritis?
  4. Do I need surgery?

It can be overwhelming to fall into this trap of trying to get all of the answers at once. There is a ton of information out there and unfortunately, our questions may remain unanswered. 

This article takes the most recent evidence on both of these conditions to help you get one step closer to cracking the code of your arthritis.  If your arthritis is isn’t diagnosed properly, you could be missing out on some of the best treatments! Let’s take a further look at how to differentiate osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis. 

Risk factors

Osteoarthritis:

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include genetics, history of joint injury, obesity, female gender, increasing age, and muscular weakness. Although, it is important to note that osteoarthritis is not inevitable with increasing age. Certain factors associated with getting older increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis but do not guarantee it.

You can also have what’s called secondary osteoarthritis, which is joint damage secondary to a pre-existing condition that impacts the joints. It’s “predisposing conditions include trauma or injury, congenital joint disorders, inflammatory arthritis, avascular necrosis, infectious arthritis, Paget disease, osteopetrosis, osteochondritis dissecans, metabolic disorders (hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease), hemoglobinopathy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or Marfan syndrome”.

Muscular weakness and changes in your joint structure can impact the amount of force going through certain parts of your joints. This is because these risk factors alter your mechanics and place unevenly distributed force on certain parts of your joint, initiating negative consequences. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Risk factors are less clear compared to osteoarthritis. It has been found that rheumatoid arthritis is primarily driven by genetics or environmental factors with genetics having a strong component in this condition.  

According to researcher Krati Chauhan et al. in an article updated in 2020, “cigarette smoking is the strongest environmental risk factor associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown in ACPA (anti-citrullinated protein antibody) positive individuals; there is an interaction between genes and smoking that increases the risk of RA”.

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint stiffness, localized joint pain, impaired balance, joint instability- buckling or giving way, occasional swelling, and limited range of motion. 

These symptoms typically have a gradual onset. The symptoms may be most apparent in knees, hips, spine, or hands. It is possible to have osteoarthritis in multiple joints. 

Here are a couple of statistics about the joints typically affected by osteoarthritis from Zhang et al.

“The age-standardized prevalence of symptomatic hand and knee OA is 6.8% and 4.9%, respectively, in Framingham subjects age ≥26 years.”

“However, prevalence of symptomatic knee OA was 16.7% among subjects age ≥45 in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, much higher than that reported in the Framingham Study.”

“About 9% of subjects in the Johnston County study had symptomatic hip OA”

Gradually increasing pain in knee, hands, and/or hips with stiffness in the morning along with occasional swelling and instability, there is a chance you may have osteoarthritis. It is important to note that everyone has a different experience with osteoarthritis so these symptoms could vary. 

This post “What Does Osteoarthritis Feel Like” expands on the 4 most common symptoms. 

Osteoarthritic joints can experience occasional flare ups which are usually triggered by overactivity but can also be influenced by the weather, especially cold temperatures or humidity.

These flare ups typically include increased joint pain, increased joint swelling, and higher degree of stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: 

Compared to osteoarthritis, you may notice a quicker onset of symptoms that primarily affect your hands, but can also affect wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, and knees. 

You may also nodules that form on your joints in your fingers or toes, as they are found in 20% of the cases of rheumatoid arthritis. 

In the joints described above, you may notice swelling, redness, and warmth as well as prolonged joint stiffness that typically lasts longer than osteoarthritis. 

These symptoms usually occur at younger ages and usually affect multiple joints at once. This is compared to osteoarthritis which starts typically with 1-2 joints with a slower progression.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, pain flare ups are common with rheumatoid arthritis and can be debilitating. These flare ups include increased joint pain, increased swelling, and overall fatigue. A participant in a focus group described pain felt during a flare up as “…doesn’t let up. It just is unrelenting.” Severity and frequency does depend on the person.

These flare ups can be triggered by overactivity, not getting enough sleep, or followed by an infection such as a cold or flu. 

Fatigue, nausea, fever, and other systemic symptoms may be present due to the autoimmune nature of the condition. It can affect different organs and lead to other symptoms aside from pain and stiffness.

Diagnosis

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can be characterized into 5 different stages

According to Rouhin et al, “OA is a clinical diagnosis and can be diagnosed with confidence if the following are present:

1) pain worse with activity and better with rest

2) age > 45 years

3) morning stiffness lasting less than 30 minutes

4) bony joint enlargement

5) limitation in range of motion”

Osteoarthritis is typically diagnosed with ruling out other conditions such as other types of arthritis.

X-rays can show some degree of osteoarthritis but is not always the most accurate because research has shown that even with arthritic changes on an x-ray, people could be totally asymptomatic.

You may also want to have your C-reactive protein levels (CRP) tested as they  can be elevated in osteoarthritis as it indicates systemic inflammation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In accordance with the symptoms, there is a blood test that can be done for rheumatoid arthritis that tests for something called the rheumatoid factor. It has been found that “about 45% to 75% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for rheumatoid factor.”  

Presence of the rheumatoid factor doesn’t necessarily guarantee rheumatoid arthritis. It may be worth also testing for “Acute-phase reactants, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) may be elevated in the active phase of arthritis.”

X-rays may not be the most helpful for rheumatoid arthritis, especially in the early stages. In more advanced stages, some erosion and other joint changes may be observable. 

Treatment

Osteoarthritis

The best course of treatment for osteoarthritis includes managing pain through controlling inflammation. This is best done by: 

  • weight reduction to decrease inflammation associated with fat tissue
  • increasing exercise movements that do not flare up pain. Exercise actually is not bad for osteoarthritis compared to popular belief, learn more here.
  • adopting an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet. Find the best anti-inflammatory foods list here.
  • medications for pain flare ups or uncontrolled pain including topical or oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Duloxetine has also been shown to be an alternative if you are unable to take NSAIDs.
Conservative management can be successful for most patients. Finding a good food and exercise plan can be extremely powerful for pain relief.
 
But, if the condition progresses and if conservative management fails, surgery may be an option to consider. Deciding on a total joint replacement can be a big decision and one that should not be taken lightly. 
 
Surgery is a long process that requires extensive recovery. Like with any surgery, there are risks for complications and infections. Look at this article to see if you are ready to have a joint replacement.
 
There are options including partial and total joint replacements that would be worth discussing with your surgeon. 
 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It has been found that “the early use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics is more effective than treatment with glucocorticoids and NSAIDs” is one of the best treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. In order to get the maximum benefit of pain relief, it is necessary to supplement with other inflammation fighting behaviors such as diet and exercise.

Joint stiffness is a large part of rheumatoid arthritis and finding the right movements can be extremely effective in fighting joint stiffness almost immediately. The trick is finding the right movements that won’t flare up pain. The Arthritis Workout Planner would be perfect in this situation. 

There are potentials for joint replacement surgeries with rheumatoid arthritis too, with knee replacements being the most common. 

According to the Rheumatology network, researchers found that: 

After hip or knee replacement, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had lower rates of joint revision surgery than patients with osteoarthritis.

• However, patients with RA had higher rates of death and prosthetic joint infections following hip or knee replacement compared with patients with osteoarthritis (1.6% of patients with RA experienced an infection compared to the 1% with osteoarthritis).

Osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis checklist

osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis

When looking at osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis consider the following: 

  • Which joints are primarily affected? 
  • Does your morning joint stiffness last longer that 60-90 minutes?
  • What is your age?
  • Does rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis run in your family?
  • Did your symptoms appear fast or slowly over time?
  • Do you experience fatigue, nausea, or a fever with your flares?

RECAP:

Remember larger joints are impacted likely by osteoarthritis (knee, hip, spine) while rheumatoid arthritis impacts smaller joints (hands, ankles, toes, shoulders, with some exceptions for larger joints like knees).

Morning stiffness that lasts longer than 90 minutes may be indicative of rheumatoid arthritis where as osteoarthritis morning stiffness usually can go away in 20-30 minutes with movement.

Younger <45 people tend to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis where as osteoarthritis typically occurs in those >45 years with the highest risk >60.

Both have a genetic component.

If your symptoms appeared more quickly, it could be indicative of rheumatoid arthritis due to the autoimmune nature of the condition. Osteoarthritis symptoms tend to develop over time. 

Experiencing other systemic symptoms may point to rheumatoid arthritis. Fatigue could be a symptom of osteoarthritis too due to poor sleeping habits.

NExt steps:

If you suspect you have osteoarthritis- seeking out care your primary care physician should be the first step. From there you can get a referral for physical therapy. 

If you suspect rheumatoid arthritis, you could start with your primary care physician but it may be a good idea to seek out a rheumatologist as they are specialists in inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. 

If you have not yet grabbed our FREE Ultimate Arthritis Guide: The Top 5 Secrets You Need to Know to Overcome Joint Pain Forever, get it right HERE! 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

osteoarthritis shoulder exercises

11 of the Greatest Osteoarthritis Shoulder Exercises

One of the most debilitating consequences of shoulder arthritis is loss of range of motion. Osteoarthritis shoulder exercises can be extremely effective in regaining motion and confidence in your shoulder again without surgery. 20% of the population over the age of 65 has osteoarthritis of the shoulder, also called glenohumeral osteoarthritis. There are many options for pain relief, one being cortisone and hyloronic injections but a 2015 report on the effects of these injections versus physiotherapy treatment concluded that physical therapy agents seemed to have greater effects than intra-articular viscosupplementation on disability and pain.” 

Shoulder osteoarthritis, or glenohumeral osteoarthritis occurs when you begin to notice stiffness, loss of motion, and pain with certain movements. It’s important to note that aside from pain, shoulder osteoarthritis can lead to depression, anxiety, inability to perform daily tasks, and stress. It is most common at age 60+. 

What’s amazing is that the definition of diagnosis from 1974 continues to hold up in our current medical system! Shoulder osteoarthritis is characterized as “a limitation in shoulder movement, loss of joint space, the presence of humeral head osteophytes, and the absence of rotator cuff tear”. 

You could potentially have rotator cuff involvement which can lead to shoulder pain that mimics osteoarthritis. 

So what can we do about this shoulder pain? Are we able to make any changes to this pain or is surgery inevitable?

These are very common questions, both of which I have received from a recent patient and I’m sharing these osteoarthritis shoulder exercises in response.

Too often with osteoarthritis, we view surgery as our only option for relief. From what we are told from various medical professionals as well as family or friends. But it turns out, there are natural ways to manage osteoarthritis pain, and shoulder osteoarthritis falls into this category! 

Everyone is at a different stage of their arthritis and may be at a different level of pain. Keep in mind, not all of these exercises will be perfect for you, but all you need are at least 2-3 to do daily to keep your shoulder limber and in less pain. 

Table of Contents

11 greatest osteoarthritis shoulder exercises

1. Shoulder pendulums

These pendulums are great for pain relief during a flare up or for more advanced shoulder osteoarthritis. This exercise may be easy if you have a mild to moderate stage of osteoarthritis (view all 5 stages here)

This can be a great warm up activity or can be helpful to restore range of motion if you have trouble lifting or raising your arm. 

Complete this exercise for up to 30 seconds, rest and repeat for at least 2-3 sets. It can be difficult to completely relax but try to take deep breaths as you are doing this exercise to help. 

2. Isometric shoulder extension

Isometrics are powerful for almost immediate pain relief. The idea is, you lightly contract your muscles then they are able to relax- making them less tight. Extension tends to be one of the positions our shoulder likes the best, especially when dealing with osteoarthritis. You control the pressure with this exercise. Watch the video to see step by step instructions on how to complete.

3. Isometric rotation

One of the most difficult movements with shoulder arthritis tends to be internal or external rotation. This means, bend your elbow at your side and try to move your hand away from your body without moving your elbow from your side. This is external rotation. Internal rotation occurs when you keep your elbow at your side and bring your hand in to try to touch your stomach. 

We have another isometric exercise here that can help you prevent loss of the range of motion. The first 0:20 of this video shows isometric internal rotation, hold for about 5 seconds then relax. Again, you control the pressure and it should not exacerbate pain. 

4. Isometric Tricep Extension

This exercise is important, especially if you are noticing pain in the back of your shoulder or upper arm. It is common to have some nerve involvement with shoulder osteoarthritis if your muscles become tight due to pain or decreased use. You may notice sharp, shooting pain down your arm, bouts of numbness, tingling, or weakness.

Your tricep muscle could be contributing to some of your nerve pain. If you see in this picture below from the Sports Injury Bulletin, the tricep muscle has 3 different heads. the radial nerve runs right through them. If those muscles become tight, the radial nerve can be irritated. 

Trying this exercise below can help those muscles relax and decrease irritation on the nerve. Hold this movement for up to 5 seconds and repeat 5-10 times. Do this exercise when you are experiencing a pain flare up or have increased symptoms.

tricep anatomy

5. Banded Row

This is one of the staples for osteoarthritis shoulder exercises. Like we had mentioned in the beginning of this article, extension is one of the movements our shoulder usually likes. This is why you see this exercise commonly used with people that are having shoulder pain. 

Banded rows are a crucial movement to master as we spend a lot of work in a forward position with our shoulders rounded. This position can stretch and weaken our upper back muscles if we spend a lot of time in this position. The idea of this exercise is to open up your shoulders and work the muscles in your upper back. 

If you don’t have any of these stretchy bands, you can get some here for under $20.

It is important to continue this exercise until your muscles begin to feel fatigued (12-25 reps). If you can do more than 25, increase the resistance of your band or try the next exercise.

6. Weighted Prone Row

For this next exercise, it is a row but at a different angle. This means the muscles are being worked differently and adds a challenge from the exercise above. You can use a light weight to start. If you don’t have any weights, finding a household object that is 2-3lbs will suffice. You can also fill a water bottle or use a soup can as well. 

It is important to have your chest in contact with an ottomon, bed, or couch. This one can be a little awkward to set up but is a very effective exercise. Complete on each side if you have symptoms on each side, or just focus on the side where you are having the most pain. Complete as many reps as you can without significant pain and with muscle fatigue.

7. Banded pull downs

Here is another stretchy band exercise that can really bring you some pain relief. This exercise is rarely pain provoking. If you do experience pain, it could be likely that your band has too much resistance or you are too far away. 

It is important that you relax your shoulders and keep your arms straight while doing this exercise. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades back with each pull. To make it more challenging, you can hold the back position for 3-5 seconds before completing the next repetition. 

8. Laying down arm lifts

This exercise typically works best if you are in the beginning stages of shoulder osteoarthritis. You can lay on a bed or a couch to complete this exercise if you do not feel comfortable getting onto the floor. 

These laying down arm lifts can be challenging. First, you can start simply lifting both arms off of the ground and repeating that without the hold. If that is too much, you can also try lifting up one arm at a time. You can then progress to holding up to 10 seconds as able.

The idea is to isolate your upper back muscles as you lift your arms up. Commonly with shoulder pain, we compensate with other muscles to lift up our arms. If this exercise is difficult for you, work on the above exercises first before attempting this one. 

9. Neck isometrics

Neck pain can be closely related to shoulder pain. Some of the muscles from our neck also play a part in shoulder movement. Many times with shoulder osteoarthritis, we overuse some of our bigger shoulder and neck muscles which leads to weakness in some of our smaller muscles. 

You may notice neck stiffness, tightness, reduced range of motion, or pain along with your shoulder arthritis. This is why these neck isometrics made the list for osteoarthritis shoulder exercises. Everything is connected.

Here are some simple neck exercises you can do in the morning, sitting watching tv, or as a passenger in a car to find relief. Again, with all isometrics, you control the pressure so it doesn’t have to be a max contraction. 

10. TRX inverted row

This exercise requires a TRX band. These bands are one of our personal favorites to use with patients, especially when dealing with osteoarthritis of all kinds. We couldn’t make a list of osteoarthritis shoulder exercises without including it! 

You have the power to make this exercise as challenging as you want by easily adjusting your foot position which is why we love these.

There are so many other exercises you can do with these TRX bands if you are looking to strength train without flaring up joint pain. Check out this video here for the top 5 shoulder exercises you can do with a TRX band system.

Get your own TRX band here for the highest quality bands (roughly $150+) or here for under $100.

11. Plank

This is a classic exercise that you likely have seen before. The plank can be a great way to challenge your shoulders without flaring up pain. The beauty of this exercise is you can adjust the height of the surface to match your fitness level. 

Most of my clients start on a counter, on a bed, couch, or ottoman and progress to the floor as able. If your wrists bother you, doing this exercise on the floor may not feel so good. Planking on a raised surface should help. 

The key is to push through your shoulders the entire time, like you are trying to push away from the surface that you are on. Try to hold for 20-45 seconds. If you can hold for up to 60 seconds or longer, try progressing to a lower surface.

Conclusion

These are the 11 greatest osteoarthritis shoulder exercises. As we discussed in the beginning, everyone is different and responds differently to osteoarthritis.

If you have mild to moderate shoulder osteoarthritis, start at the beginning and continue to progress as able. You may notice you are able to progress pretty quickly. The idea is to master the basics first before attempting more advanced exercises.

If you have severe osteoarthritis, the first few exercises likely will help you to regain or maintain range of motion while keeping pain in tolerable ranges. 

You have options when it comes to pain relief. We do admit though, conservative management doesn’t work 100% of the time. But, with the limited side effects and amount of benefit you can gain, it is so worth it to get exercise a try. Contrary to popular belief, exercise is actually really good for osteoarthritis! Learn why here.

If you would like to know the Top 5 Secrets to Overcoming Joint Pain once and for all, check out this FREE Ultimate Arthritis guide. 

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Dr. Alyssa Kuhn is a physical therapist and arthritis specialist with Keep the Adventure Alive in Sandy, UT. An adventure is anything that makes you happy on the inside and her main mission is to help you keep yours alive! She has helped arthritis sufferers all over the country finally break free from their pain without surgery or more pills. She has found lots of adventures of her own including hiking, road biking, and skiing while in Utah which has inspired her to create this journey. She wants to show the world that arthritis pain doesn’t have to take our adventures away. Learn more tips and tricks on how to adventure with osteoarthritis here.

This article contains affiliate links that give us a small commission at no cost to you.





Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

tricompartmental osteoarthritis

10 Things You Need to Know About Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis 2021

Tricompartmental osteoarthritis is a name for a type of knee osteoarthritis that has progressed to three areas of the knee joint, the inside (medial side), the outside (lateral side), and behind the knee cap (patellofemoral). This is one of the most severe forms of knee osteoarthritis. There are other types including unicompartmental and bicompartmental osteoarthritis. Each of these has its own distinct characteristics including levels of pain and stiffness depending on how much of the joint is impacted. Knowing the facts about tricompartmental osteoarthritis and the other types can dictate how you go about treatment.

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Table of Contents

Learning more about tricompartmental osteoarthritis is important in managing this condition. Considering options and understanding how to best treat it can help you make the best decisions for yourself. Look at the 10 things you need to know about tricompartmental osteoarthritis below.

1. Anatomy

Knee osteoarthritis can come in different degrees of severity, each of which carries its own symptoms and treatment options. Learning more about each of the types and what to expect can help give you a peace of mind about your arthritis. Let’s review some quick anatomy first so you can better understand.

  • Unicompartmental osteoarthritis happens when just one part out of the three parts of the knee joint is affected. This is commonly the inside (or the medial side) and can usually be caused by uneven pressure on your knee joint, potentially because of muscle imbalances, walking pattern abnormalities, and/or obesity . There are many factors typically involved, but these seem to be some of the main contributors to unilateral joint pain.
  • Bicompartmental osteoarthritis happens when two parts of the knee joint are affected. This is either the inside or outside along with the space behind the knee cap. This occurs when unilateral osteoarthritis progresses potentially due to continued muscle imbalances, decreased activity levels, inflammation, and/or obesity.
  • Tricompartmental osteoarthritis happens when all three parts of knee joint are impacted. Progressing to this stage can be caused by the above risk factors. This is usually the most severe type of knee osteoarthritis but surgery is not necessarily the only option.

2. Symptoms of tricompartmental osteoarthritis

Symptoms of this condition can vary between people but there are some general symptoms that most share. Some may have a more mild form of the condition while others may have a more severe condition. The common symptoms include:

  • Knee stiffness, especially after sitting, standing, or staying in position for a long period of time
  • Knee pain that is more severe in the morning or at night
  • Dull aching or throbbing at night
  • Swelling after activity
  • Noisy knee especially when bending it- grinding, clicking, crunching
  • Feeling unsteady on your knee, weakness or buckling
  • Difficulty bending or straightening your knee because of pain or stiffness
  • Difficulty walking- limping or anatomical changes such as knock kneed or bow-legged
  • Spontaneous catching of your knee

It is important to consider these symptoms and assess how significantly they are impacting your life when considering treatment options. Tricompartmental osteoarthritis doesn’t necessarily guarantee severe symptoms. Even with mild tricompartmental osteoarthritis, you may be able to do the things you need to without significant levels of pain or stiffness. If it has progressed enough, there may be high levels of pain and stiffness that makes walking or doing daily tasks feel like a chore. We will talk about how to best manage these symptoms later.

3. Which healthcare professional should you see?

This is a very common question with any type of arthritis but becomes especially important when dealing with a more severe type of osteoarthritis. I will list out each professional and indicate the best time to see them.

  • Primary Care Physician: your family physician should know you best- your history, your lifestyle, and your arthritis pain. They are usually able to handle most osteoarthritis and joint pain cases appropriately for mild-moderate cases. They can give recommendations for treatment and write prescriptions for medications and for physical therapy. If your arthritis is progressing to the point that it is not responding to any treatment and is significantly impacting your life, they will be able to refer you to a surgeon.
  • Physical Therapist: it has been shown that one of the most effective treatments with almost the absence of side effects is movement and exercise for arthritis pain. You want to make sure to give physical therapy a try before making more serious decisions. When choosing a physical therapist, make sure they understand how to treat arthritis and are able to prescribe you exercises that don’t increase pain significantly. Exercise doesn’t have to hurt. The number one thing I hear from people when physical therapy doesn’t work for them is that they experienced significant pain during and after. It is crucial that you are given the right exercises to avoid increased pain. When arthritis gets severe, finding movements that don’t cause significant pain does become more challenging but movement is so important.
  • Rheumatologist: They are specialists in treating conditions caused by inflammation and osteoarthritis is one of those. They primarily see those with rheumatoid arthritis though. There are circumstances when rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can overlap in symptoms. You can learn the difference between the two in this quick video. Ultimately, if you are having difficulty getting pain under control and are experiencing full body symptoms including fatigue, nausea, joint warmth, or fever it may be a good idea to talk to a rheumatologist.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon: I will preface this with saying, if you see an orthopedic surgeon, 8 times out of 10 you will leave with a recommendation for surgery. This is why I have my patients explore their options first and try conservative treatment before going under the knife. With tricompartmental osteoarthritis, you have likely been dealing with this pain for quite some time and surgery may seem very attractive to you. This diagnosis does not necessarily guarantee surgery, especially if you have mild tricompartmental osteoarthritis. Again, everyone is different. It is important to go to someone you trust and talk about your options. Surgery is a big decision. I know some that have been very successful with surgery and some that haven’t. Risks are there with any surgery. Learn more about what you should consider before deciding on a joint replacement here.
  • Dietitian: This one is often missed and honestly, it is one of the most important aspects of pain management when it comes to osteoarthritis. Our diet plays a tremendous role in our weight but also in the level of inflammation in our bodies. If you are looking for a way to try to manage pain naturally, even with tricompartmental osteoarthritis, I would highly suggest finding a qualified, registered dietitian. I know so many people who have seen significant decreases in pain, simply by changing their diets.

4. Activity modifications

It is important to understand that with varying symptoms, the activity modifications can also vary. One of the biggest things to monitor and avoid is overactivity. Trying to do too much activity can lead to increased pain and swelling that may be difficult to control.

In this stage of osteoarthritis, a straight cane may be helpful. I highly recommend this one. I usually tell my patients with “unpredictable” knees, meaning they tend to give out frequently to use a cane to prevent falls. If you feel increased pain walking distances longer than just household distances, using a cane when you go out might be extremely helpful to help you go further without being limited by pain. Osteoarthritis can also impact your balance so it is important to feel confidence when walking and canes can help.

If your arthritis has progressed to the point of difficulty walking household distances, a walker might be necessary, especially when pain levels are high. These can also be helpful when you feel very stiff, i.e when getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

When you are doing any sort of activity it is important to listen to your body. Discomfort is actually OKAY. If pain levels stay <4/10 you are not doing more damage to your knee. Exercise can actually be very beneficial for both pain and stiffness. Increasing blood flow can help to get rid of the “bad” inflammatory cells. If pain is >5/10, that is your body telling you, “hey I’m not ready for that”.

Breaking tasks up into smaller chunks, although not the most ideal, can be extremely helpful for pain management. For example, when doing laundry, going shopping, or even walking in the neighborhood- doing a little at a time with rest breaks in between can usually keep pain levels much lower. There will be more on pain management below.

There really isn’t any activity you “can’t” do. It’s more about how comfortable you feel with the activity and how much you trust your knee. I have patients who continue to hike and cycle with tricompartmental osteoarthritis and some that are just trying to get through the day. Use significant pain as your guide and your own judgement of safety.

5. Pain management

Pain management with progressive osteoarthritis can include icing, heating pads, NSAIDS, compression sleeves, massage, and/or light movement.

Many times, I get the questions of ice or heat. My answer is, honestly it’s up to you. Most people tend to have better luck with heat compared to ice but it is up to your preference. Use whichever usually brings you the most relief.

Pain medications can be very effective for temporary relief but can have serious side effects. I know it’s easier said than done, but I always encourage people to really try to find other avenues of pain relief aside from just medication. Whether that is heat, ice, elevation, seated light exercise, or massage.

For long term pain management, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet and keeping your weight under control can significantly decrease the amount of inflammation in your body, thus decreasing pain.

With tricompartmental osteoarthritis pain may be more severe and may feel like it is difficult to control. It is important to attempt to keep an open mind about other options to find relief.

6. Exercise Options for Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis

There are different options when it comes to exercise, especially with a more advanced condition.

  • TRX suspension bands: TRX bands are extremely effective and I use them with almost every one of my patients. I highly recommend these. If you aren’t confident in your balance, are fearful of movement because of pain, and feel leg weakness these may be just what you need! I have a few video examples of how these bands work if you have never heard of them. I highly recommend you also check out his article: 10 Best Leg Exercises with TRX bands for joint pain.
  • If standing exercise have become too challenging with severe tricompartmental osteoarthritis, you can also try seated exercises. The important part of exercise is to keep your joints moving whatever that looks like for you. Seated exercises can help stimulate blood flow and improve joint stiffness. You do what to make sure the exercises do feel challenging in order to the get the most benefit out of the activity. Here is an example below of a seated kickboxing routine to add a little fun to your seated workout.
  • Balance exercises can also be very effective for joint pain relief and often are forgotten about! When doing balance exercises you have to challenge your balance and may be in positions you don’t necessarily feel the most comfortable in. I love doing balance exercises in the corner of a wall so that way you have support on both sides. You can also do them next to kitchen counter or other stable surface. Here are some examples to try:

7. Preventing further progression

It may be possible to slow the progression of your tricompartmental osteoarthritis. This can be done by watching what you fuel your body with and how you move it. The longer we rest, the longer we sit, the longer we avoid exercise, we could be making our knee(s) worse! Controlling both activity and food choices can improve the health of our cartilage and help to strengthen our bones.

When we stop all activity and don’t pay attention to what we eat we could not only be at risk for higher pain levels but also for other chronic disease complications such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.

Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet like mentioned above and finding activity you can do for at minimum, 30 minutes a day is absolutely crucial for keeping your joint as healthy as you can. Some supplements may be beneficial but it is important to try to get your vitamins and minerals from real food first. Fish oil and tumeric have been found to be helpful in managing inflammation in some people with arthritis, but always check with your physician before starting any new medications or supplements as they could interact.

You can get a list of the BEST anti-inflammatory foods here.

8. Living with Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis

This type of osteoarthritis can be debilitating and can impact us both mentally and physically. There are 2 most important things to consider when living with this condition.

  • Have a healthcare team you trust: Osteoarthritis isn’t best managed by one person. The people I see that have the most success with their arthritis are those that have a team to help them: primary care, physical therapist, dietitian, orthopedic/sports medicine physicians. There are definitely room for others, such as psychologists, pain management, rheumatologists, etc. The more you have on your team, the more people you have looking out for you. You want to make sure they have your best interest at the forefront of all decisions.
  • Have a support system: your friends and family are more important than ever, especially with tricompartmental osteoarthritis. This condition can be emotionally taxing and you may need help from those around you. If you have pain flare ups, it can be comforting to know you don’t have to try to get everything done yourself. I know asking for help is not always easy but there are certain situations when you could really use it. When you are having high levels of pain, you are more at risk for falls as well as continued uncontrolled pain with increased irritation of the joint. Also, the more distractions you have, the less time you will have to focus on your pain. Keeping yourself busy with family, grandkids, friends, and hobbies can be extremely effective.

9. Surgical Options

One of the best surgical options for this condition is likely a total knee replacement. In the case of unicompartmental or sometimes bicompartmental osteoarthritis, there may be an option for a partial knee replacement. The partial can be less invasive and have less of a recovery compared to a total. If you have one part of your joint that is more advanced than the others, a partial may be an option but likely with tricompartmental, all 3 parts will likely need replaced.

The one thing I hear from patients the most is they wish they would’ve known more about the recovery process following a total joint replacement. It can be a long process (ranging from 6-18 months) that can make a significant impact on the health of your new joint. It primarily includes physical therapy and a home exercise program to regain range of motion and strength of your new knee.

If range of motion does not return, a manipulation under anesthesia may be warranted. Knowing this may give you some extra motivation during your rehab!

A total joint replacement may be one of the only surgical options for treating tricompartmental osteoarthritis. Cortisone shots, stem cells, and other procedures may not be as effective at this stage.

When deciding on a joint replacement, it can be a big decision. This article walks you through the 3 things you should consider before going with a total joint replacement.

10. Realize there is hope!

Many times, a diagnosis of osteoarthritis can feel hopeless and overwhelming. Whether you have mild tricompartmental osteoarthritis or severe tricompartmental osteoarthritis I want you to know there is hope.

Time and time again, people come to me with so many questions that were never answered because of the limited time in physician’s offices and fear of movement from what they read online. 

At Keep the Adventure Alive we are on a mission to give you the power back. To give you the information you need to make the best decision for yourself. We are here to help guide the way to finding hope again. Adventure doesn’t have an age limit and we want to help keep yours alive.

Share this article with anyone else you may know who is struggling with tricompartmental osteoarthritis or is unsure where to go next! 

I always find that what we believe about our tricompartmental knee pain can make a dramatic impact on our pain levels. Too often we are actually believing the WRONG things! I have put together the TOP 3 Myths most people believe and the ebook can be downloaded instantly below.

This article contains affiliate links that give us a small commission at no cost to you.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

dr alyssa kuhn author

Order Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s published book to learn how to rock the later years with fitness and mindset! This book was created to empower, motivate, and educate on how you can continue to Move Well and Age Well.