16 Dec Why we see more Knee Osteoarthritic flare ups this time of year
We see lots of Musculoskeletal problems in our clinic ranging from back, shoulder, hip and knee pain through to sports injuries and post-operative recovery.
But why are we seeing more osteoarthritic knee pain right now?
In a large study by Cross et al in 2014, they concluded that knee osteoarthritis (OA) was one of the leading causes of global disability affecting women more than men and its burden has been hugely underestimated. OA involves the repeated wear, tear and repair of knee joint. It causes inflammation and leads to structural changes of the joint, causing pain, stiffness and functional disability. Although its prevalence does increase with age (50+) it is not a consequence of it. Causes according to Arthritis Research UK are multi-factorial including age, gender, genetics, obesity and previous/repetitive injury. However, we do see an increase in patients with knee OA flare ups at this time of year. Although research over the years has been contradictory, more recent research with better methodology has seen causal trends and associations related to joint pain and weather variables. The cold was seen to increase pain and stiffness by Timmermans et al in 2015. The cold and wet weather means your less likely to go out and reduces your activity. That means your less likely to move it. We know that less activity can increase knee OA pain
and ultimately make the condition worse by reducing your balance control. Balance and muscle strength are hugely significant factors in falls risk which can have significant effects on your morbidity and mortality.
How do we help?
We will work with you at your pace to understand the problem better, help you to manage the symptoms and get you moving! We utilise a mix of behavioural strategies with ‘hands on’ therapy, pharmaceutical intervention (if appropriate) and exercise rehabilitation to reduce the acute flare ups and help you manage it more effectively in the future so you can keep moving and enjoying life, even in the cold!