One of the primer non-surgical treatments for knee osteoarthritis(calcification) is physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy. It is worthwhile to briefly talk about knee calcification before moving on to treatment options and when these applications will be applied, to whom.
What is Knee Arthritis?
Calcification(osteoarthritis) of the knee is a disease that occurs gradually over the years and eventually results in the complete loss of the knee joint cartilage. Articular cartilage is smooth, slippery and shiny at young ages, and has a high load-bearing capacity. Cracks, abrasions and injuries that form over time initiate the wear process on the cartilage. Cartilage is like a hat, in this sense it can be likened to the roof of the house. If the columns of the house are not strong, that is, if the bone on which the cartilage tissue located is weakened, the collapse of the cartilage will also become easier and the calcification process will accelerate.
Osteoporosis, which is more common especially in women after menopause, will weaken the bones, while accelerating the wear of the cartilage which will advance the disease.
Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
The first signal of knee osteoarthritis noticed by the patient is pain. A pain with movement, usually felt on the inside of the knee, appears. The load-bearing capacity of the knee joint gradually decreases, so the walking distance begins to decrease. This pain is felt more especially when going up and down the stairs. There is a restriction of movement, the patient begins to be unable to bend the knee or to open it fully when s/he tries to open it. During movements, sounds come from the knees.
Over time, deformity in the knees becomes evident, swelling occurs in the joint, legs that should be straight when viewed from the opposite side may curve sideways, similar to the letter O, due to these changes in the joint. All these are the response of calcification to the patient.
Early Treatment Options
In the early stages of knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage tissue is not yet completely damaged and the treatments are aimed at preserving the existing cartilage tissue. These treatment options can be summarized as regulation of daily life activities, physiotherapy, PRP and stem cell injections and arthroscopic surgeries.
The goal is to reduce pain, maintain the range of motion, slow down or stop the osteoarthritis process, and even achieve recovery.
Regulation of Daily Life Activities
Joint health is possible with movement, the disease will gradually progress in non-moving joints. Therefore, move as much as possible. Excess weight will increase the load on the joint and further the cartilage damage, which will increase pain and the limitation of movement. That is why it is necessary to maintain your current weight and, if possible, to lose weight. It is useful to use the arms while squatting and straightening or sitting down and getting up to prevent too much load on the knees. It is also necessary to avoid carrying heavy loads, walking and standing for long periods of time. Soft-soled and flat-heeled shoes should be worn.
Physiotherapy in Knee Arthritis
These methods are practiced by physiotherapists. Your doctor will follow you throughout the process and re-evaluate you at the end of the treatment.
Physiotherapy methods include hot or cold applications, electrotherapy (TENS, electrical stimulation, etc.), ultrasound therapy, short wave therapy and personalized exercises.
The duration, intensity and frequency of these exercises vary according to which stage you are in the calcification process.
The point to remember is; These exercises should continue to be performed regularly at home even after the physical therapy process is over.
Otherwise, the well-being provided by physiotherapy will not continue, and the calcification disease will continue to progress in its own rhythm.