Protecting Knees: Rehab and "Prehab"

Posted by Admin on June 13, 2011
Knee pain caused by osteoarthritis can affect your flexibility and ability to function. One option for treatment is arthroscopic surgery, but for those who wish to avoid or delay surgery, there are ways to alleviate arthritis pain without surgery.

According to Patience White, chief public health officer for the Arthritis Foundation and a rheumatologist in Washington, D.C., "Most people accept osteoarthritis as a part of aging and have this misperception that there's nothing you can do…there is no quick fix, but there are things you can do."  Some things that can help to relieve knee pain from arthritis include, weight loss, exercise, and physical therapy. Weight loss means that every pound you lose is less stress on the knees, According to Dr White, “each pound you gain adds 4 pounds of stress to your knees when you walk.” Exercise and physical therapy can also help. 

Of course in some cases knee surgery can become necessary. In that case researchers have found that “prerehabilitation,”   exercise programs for patients with severe knee arthritis can improve strength and functional ability before knee replacement surgery. This study was published in the February issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 

The research was conducted with a group of 71 patients scheduled  for knee replacement due to server osteoarthritis One group was randomly assigned to a comprehensive prehabilitation program, consisting of light resistance training, flexibility and step exercise, and light walking three times a week while the other group continued with their regular actives.  Patients who underwent the prehabilitation program showed a ten percent increase in extension strength in the leg scheduled for knee replacement. In contrast, the comparison group had a ten percent decrease in extension strength.  In addition, patients who underwent the prehabilitation had less pain when performing the functional tests. 


Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 

National Strength and Conditioning Association