Knee osteoarthritis is common in people over 50. Not all will experience pain and many live with asymptomatic knee osteoarthritis which doesn’t limit them in their function. Treatment aims to reduce pain, improve motor control and the muscular system and return to normal function where possible. Below hopes to give an insight into some evidence based treatments available. Remember these journal articles are only truly valid for similar population samples so be sure to check the original research when clinically reasoning whether these particularly results could be extrapolated for your patient.
Education is key. The information you share and teach to every patient has a butterfly effect into local communities and it is important to be up to date with the latest evidence. People talk and a simply bit of advice such as
“Well my pain is worse in the morning so my physio advised that I plan medication accordingly and try my exercises to get it moving before I get up”
may help others too. As an ageing population osteoarthritis is likely to effect a higher percentage of the population and empowering people with self management strategies will help improve patient care and satisfaction.
With the growing power of the internet we have a fantastic medium to communicate with patients by providing online advice and access to information sheets once formally diagnosed. Of course the internet has a lot of rubbish too and it is important to educate patients and direct them to good quality resources for evidence based information. It is also important to educate patients that although self diagnosis may provide symptomatic relief results are likely to be achieved more quickly and effectively long term by assessment from an expert in the same way if you wanted your house rewired you’s go to a electrician.
It is also important to educate patients that if they can not get an appointment through the NHS it may be worth the £50 assessment with a private physio to at least get a diagnosis and then if they wish to self manage they can.
Resources for patients
Weight Loss Reduces Knee-Joint Loads in Overweight and Obese Older Adults With Knee Osteoarthritis,” Stephen P. Messier, David J. Gutekunst, Cralen Davis, and Paul
DeVita, Arthritis & Rheumatism, July 2005; 52:7; pp. 2026-2032