Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the leading causes of disability among elderly men and women. It usually occurs as a result of trauma, repetitive use, disease or aging. Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage in your knee deteriorates, resulting in the loss of joint space between the bones. Over time, the membrane that keeps the area around the cartilage lubricated becomes thickened and inflamed, resulting in swelling and pain. If left untreated, individuals with long standing osteoarthritis may experience deformity of the joint which may make daily activities difficult and painful.
Individual symptoms may vary greatly, however knee pain and swelling, joint deformity and loss of range of motion are the most typical signs of osteoarthritis. An x-ray will often reveal loss of joint space and cartilage damage or the formation of a bone spur. There are times when an arthroscopy is performed to look more closely at the condition of the knee
What you can expect from therapy
Your physical therapist will work with you to reduce the pain and swelling as well as to improve the strength of the muscles surrounding the knee to provide great stability. There are situations when a brace or some form of compression are indicated for short term use.