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Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis in Younger People (yeah, that means YOU!)

Knee Pain

Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis Affects Younger People, Too
Ackerman, I., Kemp, J. Crossley, K., Culvenor, A., Hinman, R.
Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, February 2017, p 67-79.

This Clinical Commentary focused on evidence-based assessment and management approaches for “younger individuals” defined as those less than 40-45 years old.
Why is this important? Hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) at younger ages has a significant impact on psychosocial well-being and work capacity. People who are affected by OA in their 40’s have decreased exercise tolerance to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. It may further decrease work tolerance for jobs involving high labor which has the potential to decrease available work force for these jobs as well as limiting future job potential for those affected.
Why is this happening? Key risk factors for accelerated development of knee OA are obesity and a history of traumatic knee injury. Traumatic knee injury included anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and/or meniscal tears. Even more troubling was that having ACL reconstruction surgery “does not appear to prevent future onset of knee OA”. The bright spot in this research was that long distance running in youth did NOT seem to increase the risk of hip and knee OA later in life!
Should I ask my MD for imaging on my painful knee and hips? This commentary stated that imaging should be reserved for those with atypical signs and symptoms that “may indicate diagnoses other than OA”.
What can I do for my youth with knee and/or hip pain? The top recommendations were therapist-prescribed exercise programs to address impairments, specific activity modification, disease-related education, and weight control or weight loss (if applicable). There are specific exercises which have been proven to decrease stress to the hips and knees that can help young athletes. Also, strengthening exercises can help to “protect” the joint for athletes to decrease the risk for ACL rupture or meniscal tears.
What if I am a “younger person” showing signs of hip and/or knee OA? Physical therapy should focus on a specific patient-centered history, comprehensive evaluation including joint mobility, muscle strength, and performance-based measures, and outcome measures to assess symptoms and function over time.
The key “take away” from this article was the importance of early intervention to decrease progression of OA and allow people to maintain their desired level of activity through their lifetime. If you have any questions regarding OA, hip and/or knee pain, please feel free to contact us here at Physical Therapy for everyBODY at amykonvalinpt@gmail.com or (425)658-4944.

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
Dr. Amy Konvalin

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