As an insidious condition that does a great job of sneaking up on people over the course of time, osteoarthritis is a common ailment suffered by thousands of people across Canada. The knee seems particularly prone to developing it. Known as osteoarthritis of the knee, it’s the most common type of osteoarthritis. Although it is more common in people over 40, it strikes all age groups. While athletes are common sufferers of osteoarthritis of the knee, they are, by no means, the only sufferers.
What is osteoarthritis of the knee? Osteoarthritis of the knee refers to the degeneration of the actual knee joint. More specifically, this means that the hyaline cartilage covering the articulating surfaces of the bones in the knee joint have deteriorated.
What causes osteoarthritis of the knee? Typically attributed to wear and tear, there are actually many different contributing factors leading to osteoarthritis of the knee, which whether hereditary, or resulting from trauma suffered to the knee, can include:
- Trauma to knee joint, including tearing of the meniscus
- Recurrent patellar dislocation or patella fracture
- Fractures of the knee or knee dislocation
- Ligamentous instability, such as an ACL injury
- Various genetic factors, including the presence of arthritis in family medical history
Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee vary. Should you feel pain or stiffness, loss of full range of motion, muscle weakness, or baker’s cysts – either jointly, or individually – you may, in fact, have osteoarthritis of the knee.
Osteoarthritis of the knee can leave a person feeling surgery is a necessary and sole option. But not necessarily. Several different treatments are available to osteoarthritis of the knee patients. Although surgery may be necessary in some cases, various non-surgical treatments can help restore knee tissue and decrease or eliminate the pain osteoarthritis of the knee is known for. These treatments may include:
- Physiotherapy – Strength training and physical exercise to rebuild muscle can work to decrease pain.
- Viscosupplementation – This process involves the injection of hyaluronic acid into the knee joint. As a naturally occurring protein in the body, hyaluronic acid lubricates the joint and increases fluid viscosity.
- The use of a custom knee brace – Custom fitted, this knee brace works to stabilize and decrease wear and tear on knee and knee joints, making everyday tasks, such as walking or running, much more comfortable – which is liberating for osteoarthritis sufferers!
Used separately or as part of a combined treatment plan, these alternatives to surgery can help you return to your regular level of physical activity without the consistent pain or instability osteoarthritis of the knee is so famous for. These alternative treatments also mean a far less sedentary recovery period, meaning you are able to recover while still enjoying life without having to take time off work or to completely eliminate physical activity from your regular routine.
Osteoarthritis of the knee can be a very painful, debilitating disease that can greatly impact your ability to complete daily tasks or enjoy your favourite activities and participate in sports. Although surgery remains a viable option to help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee, it is important to remember that it is not your sole option!
To find out more about osteoarthritis of the knee and what non-surgical options are available to treat it, contact Athletic Edge Sports Medicine by calling (416) 800-0800, or visit www.aesm.ca
Osteoarthritis is a plague to athletes. Wear and tear on joints over time, and the resulting breakdown of joint cartilage means many athletes are prone to it. Sports that are relentlessly demanding on the bodies of athletes, placing enormous stress on their joints, lead to osteoarthritis later in life unless athletes are vigilant about prevention.
That said, osteoarthritis doesn’t only impact athletes. The Arthritis Society of Canada has recently cited osteoarthritis as the most common form of arthritis, affecting 1 in 10 Canadian adults. While osteoarthritis affects people of all ages, it is most common in adults over the age of 60.
What causes this disease?
Aside from wear and tear and overuse, most commonly associated with athletes, joint injury may also occur in motor vehicle accidents or accidents at work or home. Athletes with a history of repeated injuries are also the most likely to develop osteoarthritis as they age. Fractures and infections arising from accidents can harm the internal tissues of a joint. Working with a sports therapy clinic can mitigate risk to athletes through preventative education and programs.
Joint wear and tear that simply occurs over time, which is often evident in the elderly, is also a cause of osteoarthritis. Not all elderly people develop osteoarthritis but many do since prolonged wear and tear isn’t always sports related but involves jobs that involve heavy labour and lifting.
The interesting paradox to osteoarthritis though is that inactivity can be just as harmful to the joints as is overuse and joint wear. This is one of the reasons why osteoarthritis doesn’t only impact athletes. A lack of exercise and inactivity can weaken the muscles that support joints. Over time, a joint that is underused may also become prone to injury, in addition to being sore and dysfunctional.
Furthermore, joints are only nourished when doing activity. The motion of the joint moves joint fluid into and out of the cartilage, keeping it healthy. That’s why activity is so important for joint health and preventing osteoarthritis.
Those carrying excessive body weight are at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. When excessive body weight bears down directly on the knees and hips, it causes the kind of joint stress that can lead to osteoarthritis. Diet and nutritional education offered by physiotherapy clinics experienced in treating osteoarthritis can be vital to losing weight and significantly reducing the chances of developing osteoarthritis.
There are people who are aware of, but ignore, the habits and lifestyles that can lead to osteoarthritis. Others will develop it having done absolutely nothing to cause it. Some research suggests that genetic predisposition also plays a significant part in osteoarthritis that is, if your parents had osteoarthritis you may be more likely to develop it than one whose parents didn’t pass down the genes for arthritis.
The only way to prevent osteoarthritis is to heed common causes and preventative measures. These include: exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, varying your exercise routines, being mindful of any joint pain and exercising vigilance to avoid injuries to your joints. If your job is physically demanding or you’re heavily into sports, invest in your health by working with a sports therapy clinic that can help you to come up with a program to reduce your chances of developing osteoarthritis.
For more information about the causes, prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesm.ca
Theatre is a wonderful form of entertainment and depends on performing artists who are highly dedicated to their craft to create the magic so often found there. The industry, however, is highly competitive and extremely demanding of performers. When people think of athletes they may picture football, tennis or basketball players or long distance runners. But like other athletes, dancers and musicians also experience injury and develop conditions as a result of their trade.
Professional musicians and dancers face common injuries like tendinitis, sprains, muscle strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, and other orthopedic, neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions.
Think about the repetitive nature of practice and performance for string musicians, pianists and wind instrument players. It’s little wonder they often suffer from conditions related to overuse of the tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. Neck and shoulder pain is very common. So is pain in the hands. Dancers tend to face musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions involving the feet, ankles, hips and knees and are also more prone to injury regarding bones and ligaments such as the ACL.
For these reasons preventative medicine and sports therapy for performing artists are growing.
Occasionally chronic injuries and/or conditions develop as a result of incorrect posture, stress, insufficient rest and excessive force placed upon the bones, ligaments, joints, muscles or tendons. Passion that drives performing artists also tends to produce people so committed to the craft they often tend to accept a lifestyle of injury as easily as they’ve embraced the physical demands placed upon them. But the two are not the same, and injury left untreated can jeopardize a performer’s career. Performing artists who ignore early symptoms of an injury or condition and continue working, without allowing conditions or injuries to heal, aren’t thinking of the long term consequences to their body and their ability to work. Ignoring a small problem now can lead to a larger one later.
Preventative medicine and sports therapy for performing artists can teach them how to avoid injury and reduce the likelihood of a developing an unwanted condition. Performers can learn techniques for reducing force on joints by selectively strengthening and balancing the muscles needed to perform. Musicians can learn about how different postures reduce muscle tension produced while playing their instruments. Dancers who struggle with osteoarthritis in their hips and knees may receive Durolane injections directly into the joints to lubricate them, relieving pain and inflammation. Can you imagine how much relief this brings to a dancer otherwise forcing him or herself to continue dancing in pain?
Techniques that both dancers and musicians can adopt include warm up and cool down exercises, stretches, short breaks, adjustments in technique, use of devices and modified foot gear, massage therapy and more. Sports therapy professionals can work with performing artists to stretch and loosen tight areas and strengthen weak ones. Combination treatment options like injections in correlation with procedures for reducing inflammation and blood flow to a targeted region are essential restorative therapies which often remove the need for surgery.
It is not uncommon to see medical personnel from sports therapy clinics present at rehearsals and performances. These behind the scenes professionals can do wonders to support and enhance performing artists, helping them avoid injury and also mitigating injuries to avoid further damage. Sports medicine is a quickly evolving industry and medical advances are constant. Performing artists stand to increase their rate of long-term success by establishing and building a relationship with a good sports therapy clinic that understands and specializes in treatment of people in their industry.
Sound care now becomes an investment enabling performing artists to increase their level of pain-free comfort, physical strength, enjoyment and longevity within the field they are passionate about — and that many hope to continue well into their senior years.
For more information about preventative medicine and sports therapy for the performing arts please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesm.ca
Osteoarthritis sufferers already know just how painful and inconvenient it can be. Simple acts such as getting in and out of your car or opening a jar can be surprisingly challenging, and the pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints: can be debilitating. Osteoarthritis generally affects individuals after the age of 45 but is also common in athletes who are younger. As a disease of the joints where the cartilage in the joint begins to break down over time, Osteoarthritis typically affects the hips, knees, hands and feet. Since cartilage in the joint cannot heal itself, those who suffer from Osteoarthritis benefit from treatment once symptoms present themselves.
There are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatment options for Osteoarthritis sufferers.
Surgical treatment of Osteoarthritis may include:
- Joint replacement
- Bone realignment also known as osteotomy
- The fusing of bones
- Arthroscopy and debridement which involves the cleaning out of bone and cartilage fragments that may be the cause of pain and inflammation. There is some scientific evidence, however, that this sort of surgery may not give people any material relief in the long term.
Surgery can seem invasive; therefore many Osteoarthritis sufferers prefer non-surgical treatments for relief from Osteoarthritis. These are also quite effective. Non-surgical treatment options for Osteoarthritis include:
- Hot and Cold Therapy
- Medication that relieves pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy
- Weight reduction
- Targeted Exercise, such as that prescribed by a physiotherapist
- Assistive devices such as custom foot orthotics and custom knee bracing
- Durolane injections
Durolane injections have become very popular as an alternative treatment for Osteoarthritis and involve injections directly into the joint affected. Durolane is a gel that contains hyaluronic acid that lubricates joints. This improves joint-function and range of motion. Durolane’s cushioning of the joints also brings pain relief to Osteoarthritis sufferers. These injections are quick to administer and are an innovative drug- free alternative treatment.
As Durolane injections target the affected body part, they may also offer long term relief by helping to delay or reduce the need for hip or knee replacement. So starting on injections early in the course of osteoarthritis is imperative. This is why many younger people with osteoarthritis have Durolane injections.
Since Osteoarthritis is a disease that occurs more regularly within the aging population, seniors may prefer Durolane injections as they pose considerably less risk than surgery. While Osteoarthritis surgeries are performed every day posing minimal risk, many see Durolane injections as a method of avoiding the headache of possible post-surgical complications. Reactions to anesthesia, bleeding inside the joints, blood clots, blood vessel or nerve damage, damage to cartilage, muscles, ligaments or tendons or infection are unpleasant side-effects that Durolane treatments help Osteoarthritis sufferers avert. Each individual’s personal circumstances, health and lifestyle will play a role in customizing a treatment plan that works right for them.
In many cases the best treatment for Osteoarthritis can be found in sports therapy clinics that provide regular assistance to athletes and non-athletes who suffer from it. The best sports therapy clinics will likely provide access to a multi-disciplinary medical team. There are many treatment options for Osteoarthritis, therefore you may want to educate yourself and explore several at once. The additional benefit of sports therapy clinics is one-stop access to a team of professionals who can help in this regard.
For more information about Durolane injections, treatment for Osteoarthritis and alternatives to Osteoarthritis Surgery please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesm.ca
How can such a small part of the body cause SO much pain?! Did you know that a tear to the 1-2 inch ACL is one of the most common knee ligament injuries? Called “a torn ACL” (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), this small ligament is found beneath the knee cap. When torn, it is extremely painful and often requires medical assistance including surgery.
A knee ligament injury will often show up when people are involved in a sport of some kind, in fact athletes are famous for being stricken by a torn ACL – one of the more serious forms of knee ligament injury. Knee ligament injuries can also occur in accidents in the home. Even kids horsing around the wrong way can end up with knee ligament injuries like a torn ACL.
Football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and soccer are the most common sports where these injuries happen and there are two primary reasons for this:
• Firstly, these sports involve accelerating, then rapidly decelerating with constant and quick changes in direction. This is often referred to as “cutting”.
• Secondly, all these sports involve jumping. What goes up must come down…but unfortunately not always in a straight line! Every time an athlete jumps, he or she risks landing awkwardly, twisting, turning, or wrenching the knee. The end result of this kind of landing is often the dreaded torn ACL. Athletes often invite knee ligament injuries by jumping then landing flat on their heels — and it is at that point a knee ligament injury can also happen, at lightning speed.
Injuries to a knee ligament or ACL are sudden and acute. They can hurt immediately. You may hear a loud pop and find yourself in instant and intense pain. Walking may range from very painful to impossible, and if you’re suffering from a torn ACL you may also have difficulty straightening the leg; may have poor balance; and/or the injured knee may begin to swell quickly. It is important to identify a torn ACL as soon as possible, and to discontinue the activity you were in the middle of when you hurt yourself.
An untreated ACL injury may have long term ramifications. These include, but are not limited to, ongoing pain in the knee, an inability to return to athletic activities, osteoarthritis, and long term swelling and/or stiffness.
There is no rushing the healing of a knee ligament injury such as a torn ACL. Any way you cut it, time is needed. Healing may also involve therapy along with custom knee bracing, along with physiotherapy. The recovery time may possibly take 6 months to a year; however, this recovery period can be reduced through an advanced treatment program at a sports medicine facility.
A good sports medicine treatment facility should be able to design your treatment and rehabilitation plan with consideration of your lifestyle and goals. You may also be fitted with custom equipment such as knee bracing and also taught special exercises that you can do at home to minimize recovery time. The staff may also help you to develop an ongoing plan to prevent a similar injury from happening in the future. Hooray!
Consider regular neuromuscular training which can reduce and even prevent non-contact ACL injuries. This training is designed to enhance proprioception, balance, muscle strength and proper movement patterns.
If you have suffered a knee ligament injury such as a torn ACL, if you would like to learn about programs to prevent an ACL injury or would simply like more information about treatment options, please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesm.ca
It’s interesting to note how people often take better care of the things they own than they do their bodies. Take cars for example. Frequently, owners make faithful priority of their car maintenance: scheduling oil changes, tire rotations even detailing and car washes, with fluids all topped up to boot. So why is it people often wait until they’re njured to visit sports therapy clinics? That’s like waiting until you have engine trouble before visiting your mechanic for a tune up! The truth is, people are creatures of habit and are often reactive rather than proactive. It often takes an injury, trauma or condition that can no longer be tolerated to prompt a person to seek treatment. But what many fail to realize is that listening to the body and early symptoms, a problem can easily be solved. The alternative is waiting until the condition becomes unbearable, and why on earth would you ever choose to do that?!
Whether you’re an athlete or non-athlete, there are simple things you can be doing to prevent injury or worsening existing conditions, and such steps often involve the services of sports therapy clinics. You will find they not only treat the injured but also offer preventative medicine and treatment for conditions that aren’t injury related. What seems like innocuous pain or inflammation that begins in the absence of an injury, may in fact be an indication of an underlying condition that could use a little attention now (rather than a dramatic rescue later).
Conditions like osteoarthritis come from the breaking down of joint cartilage. Since cartilage can’t heal itself, treatment at the first signs of osteoarthritis is time well spent. Many people mistakenly chalk osteoarthritis up to a simple case of the body growing older. But what may seem like an innocent grinding sensation of the knee joint, may actually be an indication of osteoarthritis, and if left untreated, could worsen and evolve into a condition needing surgery.
Both the aging population and athletes are common sufferers of osteoarthritis. The really good news is: osteoarthritis can be avoided. Sports therapy clinics can provide preventative education. Physiotherapists can help athletes reduce their odds of developing osteoarthritis. Again, like avoiding engine problems by keeping your car’s oil clean and engine working parts tuned, athletes can care for their bodies, preventing conditions or injuries, by utilizing services found at sports therapy clinics.
Sports therapy clinic professionals can also help prevent injuries to bones, tendons and ligaments. Their specialized attention goes beyond that normally found at traditional physiotherapy clinics or at a family doctor.
Sports medicine physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, registered dieticians, sport psychologists, orthopaedic surgeons, and other professionals are commonly found “under one roof”. When you visit a respectable sports therapy clinic you should find all of these professionals in one place and within the time frame you require treatment.
What’s more, professionals at a sports therapy clinic will work together on your condition, injury, lifestyle or athletic challenges and work interactively with you to come up with a customized, realistic and successful treatment plan.
For more information about the services offered in sports therapy clinics please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesm.ca
Ahh the joy of joints…they bend, they move…and sometimes they hurt.
If you suffer from joint pain you are not alone. Joint pain is actually so common it affects hundreds of thousands of people throughout Canada. There are many causes of joint pain, with the two most common being: injury, and disease of the joint (or of the tissues that surround the joint). But, identifying joint pain is trickier than it sounds as you need to first truly determine if the pain you’re experiencing is actually in the joint.
Joints, by definition, are areas where two bones meet to provide motion to a particular body part, for instance: knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, hips and wrists. The essential stuff (!) But joints are separated by cartilage and ligaments that attach the bones around the joint. Then there are tendons that helpfully attach muscle to the bone around the joint. The problem is: cartilage, ligaments and tendons are ALL also prone to injury, so the sensation of pain in the joint region does not automatically mean you have injured the joint itself. If you self-diagnose and try and treat the area the
wrong way, you won’t be solving the problem.
The causes of true joint pain are most frequently linked to disease, such as arthritis. This used to be thought of as something our grandparents would get however that myth is quickly being corrected, as arthritis is one of the most common joint diseases today in people of various ages. The word arthritis actually means “joint inflammation”, and there are over 100 different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is very common and causes joint pain.
At about this point many folks reading this who suffer from joint pain or pain in a joint area are starting to wonder “do I have osteoarthritis?” Good question. Here’s what we can tell you:
Osteoarthritis is a “non-inflammatory” type of arthritis, which means that inflammation is not the primary concern. The most worrisome – although predictable – component to osteoarthritis is its degenerative nature. Because osteoarthritis is caused over time by continual wear and tear of the joint (which is bound to happen in one’s lifetime someway, somehow) it becomes most prevalent in men and women over the age of 45. The repetitive wear and tear is also a major reason why so many athletes (famous for overusing joints that are key excelling in the sport to which they are committed) are affected by osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that develops over time, when the cartilage in the joint begins to break down, commonly during the aging process. Osteoarthritis can also appear as a result of injury or infection to the joint, or as a result of a simple case of weak genetics. Obesity and weight are also blamed for contributing to osteoarthritis since the greater a person’s weight, the greater the strain put on his or her joints.
Osteoarthritis usually affects weight bearing joints like the knee.
Some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis include: aches, pains, stiffness, enlargement and/or swelling. Osteoarthritis sufferers often report one or more of these symptoms in the joint, which may occur when performing every day functions such as walking up the stairs, sitting or standing, and lifting objects around the house. Pain in the joint may not be experienced directly in the joint. Pain in the knee, thigh or groin could in fact be caused by osteoarthritis in the hip.
Physicians who specialize in sports medicine often are experts in osteoarthritis, since the athletes are some of the most vulnerable to developing it. They will review your medical history and perform imaging or lab tests to diagnose with certainty whether you do, in fact, have osteoarthritis. Seeking help for your osteoarthritis will help you reduce or eliminate symptoms, which in turn will significantly improve your overall quality of life. Why would you wait?
For more information about the causes of joint pain or to find out if you have osteoarthritis please call 416-800-0800 or visit www.aesm.ca today.