If you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe knee arthritis, you will probably need a knee replacement in the near future. The traditional age for a knee replacement is over 50, and if you are a young person in reasonably good health, you may have to wait for your knee replacement. Physical therapy can help you maintain the range of motion you have, strengthen the muscles around your knee, and help you with flexibility. As you try to live with the pain of chronic, severe knee arthritis, physical therapy can help.
Maintaining Range of Motion is Beneficial
When you have chronic knee pain, it becomes more and more difficult to walk. The pain can get so severe that you will only want to sit with your leg straight. This position does not help your knee over the long run. Keeping your leg straight because it feels better will quickly decrease your range of motion. By working with a physical therapist, you can increase your range of motion. This will help you walk better, and allow you to move more freely.
Muscle Strengthening is Essential
When you walk with a limp, your muscles will begin to suffer. The muscles on your injured leg won't be working properly because you aren't using your leg the right way. Muscles may become shortened, weak, and overall unable to perform their duties. When you work with a physical therapist, they will focus on the muscles that are lacking in tone. Although you aren't going to gain full use of your knee without surgery, strengthening the muscles around your knee will help you use your knee more with less pain.
Physical Therapy Helps with Flexibility
It isn't just your injured knee that is losing flexibility when you are walking with a limp. Your hamstrings, calves, and hips can also lose flexibility from not walking correctly. As you meet with the physical therapist, they will look at your gait in order to improve it. With gentle stretching techniques, you will be able increase your flexibility and get back some of your ability that you have lost from being stagnant.
When you need a complete knee replacement, physical therapy will prepare you for when it is time for surgery. You will be able to strengthen your knee and get ready for the rehabilitation that is in front of you after surgery. While physical therapy won't cure your need for a new knee, it will help you get by until surgery can take place.