As we age, it’s common to experience various aches and pains, especially in the knees. If you’re over 50 and struggling with knee pain, you’re not alone. But did you know that physiotherapy can be a highly effective solution?
Knee pain is a prevalent issue among individuals over the age of 50. It can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life.
While many may turn to medication or surgery for relief, physiotherapy offers a non-invasive and holistic approach to managing and treating knee pain.
The consequences of ageing on your joints
The mobility of joints will alter due to changes in the connective tissues. Since joint range of motion has a direct effect on posture and movement, it can result in a significant difference in function.
Common causes of knee pain at age 50+
If you are over 50 and experiencing knee discomfort, it is most likely related to one of the following conditions:
1. Tendinitis or bursitis
These disorders can strike at any age, including people over the age of 50. Tendinitis is an inflammation of one or more tendons that surround the knee and become less flexible with ageing. This ailment is frequently caused by sporting activities, in which the tendon strains and gets inflamed.
Symptoms include soreness above or below the kneecap that worsens with movement and improves with rest.
Bursitis is a swelling of the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee. Symptoms vary, but the affected area is frequently swollen, heated, and sensitive to the touch.
This condition involves degradation of the knee cartilage and associated bone, which often develops gradually and worsens with age. It could be related to an injury you sustained when you were younger, but it is more typically caused by ageing.
Osteoarthritis symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, and trouble moving and can vary greatly. Biomechanics can also play a role. You may be knock-kneed or have loose kneecaps.
3. Deterioration or meniscal tears
The menisci are two pieces of springy cartilage inside the knee that act as stress absorbers between the thigh bone and the shinbone. Partial or total meniscal tears, which frequently occur when the knee is twisted, can range from minor, harmless tears that the patient is unaware of to traumatic tears, such as those sustained while skiing or playing tennis, that produce abrupt, acute pain.
Meniscal tears are common in persons with osteoarthritis. Previously, patients were frequently operated on to repair or remove a torn meniscus. That is no longer regarded as the best solution.
Pain when the knee is straightened, swelling, and difficulty crouching or standing from a seated position are all symptoms of a meniscus injury. Loose parts of the meniscus can cause “clicking” or “locking” of the knee joint.
The types of meniscal tears we find in patients over 40 or 50 are usually degenerative, not something that develops suddenly.
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
This autoimmune illness causes the patient’s immune system to attack the synovial lining of the knee (which produces fluid to lubricate the joint), eventually causing cartilage destruction. It is unusual to develop rheumatoid arthritis in just the knees.
It usually manifests itself initially in the hands and feet. Pain, stiffness, edema, and redness are common complaints, especially after sleeping. Steroids and disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (DMARDs) are used to treat the disorder.
Extra weight places additional strain on the joints, particularly weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. Experts believe that when you take a step, your knees experience 3 kilograms of pressure for every 1 kilogram you weigh.
Physiotherapy management for knee pain at age 50+
One of the primary goals of physiotherapy is to help prevent age-related changes such as muscle weakness, joint stiffness, and poor balance.
Physiotherapy can help older people build muscle, increase strength and improve balance and coordination through exercise-based activities.
Regular physiotherapy sessions combined with a healthy diet can help reduce the rate of bone loss associated with normal ageing. Muscle strengthening exercises offered in physiotherapy sessions can improve the body’s posture and joint mobility, making everyday activities more accessible to perform. Stretching is also beneficial for maintaining joint flexibility.
Furthermore, individuals who engage in regular physical activity have been shown to have lower levels of inflammation. Older people can increase their muscle mass and strength as well as their balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls significantly. Not only does physical activity delay the progression of osteoporosis, but it also slows down the rate at which bone mineral density is reduced.
Final thoughts on physio for knee pain at age 50+
Physiotherapy for knee pain at age 50+ can provide significant benefits, helping you regain mobility, reduce pain, and improve overall function.
Physiotherapy is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping various age-related changes to muscles, bones and joints at bay.
Book a FREE phone assessment today, and one of our experienced physiotherapists will tailor a rehabilitation program to fit your needs.