PT Tip of the week: Osteoarthritis


Jack Dockery, PT, DPT – Encore Clinic at Tillman’s Corner.

“As a physical therapist, I commonly encounter patients that have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee joint and want to know what they can do to avoid or postpone a total joint replacement. Obesity is a modifiable risk factor that has a direct correlation with the development of knee joint osteoarthritis, being that the knee is a weight bearing joint. A quick and easy means to determine a personal weight problem is the Body Mass Index (BMI). An individual can calculate his/her BMI by dividing their mass in kilograms by their height in meters squared. If this number is greater than 30.0 than that person will fall into the obese category and have a higher risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. Exercise is also important in avoiding or postponing a total joint replacement by strengthening the muscles around the joint and normalizing muscle imbalances. Low impact exercises such as aquatics, cycling, walking, and stretching are ideal for an arthritic joint by dissipating less joint force than higher level exercises such as running and jumping. Lastly, when running or jogging an individual should be doing so in appropriate footwear. Most individuals would benefit from a foot orthotic placing the foot in anatomical position and avoid placing other joints in the lower leg at a mechanical disadvantage. A person should change their shoes with an increase in lower leg or back pain and/or breakdown of the midsole.”

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