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If I have right knee osteoarthritis, do I have to work out my left side as well?
I was recently asked by a patient why he had to work out both sides of his body in physical therapy if only his right knee hurt. I can understand some of the confusion. After all, if your right shoulder were painful and inflamed and required an injection, the medication would only be put at the site of inflammation -- in your right shoulder. You would not be a candidate for a right and a left shoulder injection! However, physical therapy, for the most part, is much different. I'll explain.
There are two basic components to physical therapy -- passive and active. In the passive component, the therapist may apply ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and other modalities to the painful area. For the most part, these modalities are only placed at the site of injury (there are a few exceptions that are beyond the scope of this blog). So, in this sense, physical therapy is functioning si...
Predicting success after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) isn't always easy. Patients want to know what to expect and how long it will take to recover. Doctors don't have a lot of research to use when advising patients. This study looked at the rate of recovery for mobility in the first six months after TKA. The authors set out to find factors that affect results, such as age, weight, type of joint implant, pain, and other medical problems. It's likely that some factors are more important than others. They tried to rank these factors. Stair climbing and walking speed were used as the main indicators of success. Measures were made one week before and three and six months after the operation. Researchers thought knee strength and range of motion would affect recovery the most. When it was all said and done, two factors were most important. These are quadriceps muscle power and body mass index (BMI). The quadriceps is the muscle on top of the thigh that straightens the knee. BMI is the curren...
The list of tips for sore feet is not complete without mentioning the butt muscles. This group of muscles may be the laziest in the entire body. When the butt muscles become weak, the entire leg is affected, including the feet. Everything starts to turn inward. The thigh bone rotates inward causing "knock-knees." The ankles turn inward to the point that the arch of the foot can become plastered to the ground. This misalignment of the leg leads to a chain reaction of chronic pain.
Anyone with back, hip, knee, ankle, or foot pain should remember to strengthen the butt muscles. The easiest and most practical way to improve strength in the buttocks is to stand on one leg. Go ahead and try it (if needed, hold onto a chair for safety). Your beltline should remain parallel to the ground and your body should remain upright. If that was difficult, try it again only this time focus on tightening the butt cheek on the same side you are standing on. Once the butt muscles engage, the leg be...
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