Kate*, a regular patient of mine, contacted me with a tender, swollen knee which was very uncomfortable to walk on for any distance. After examining her, I diagnosed osteo-arthritis in her knee joint and discussed how we could manage the pain and discomfort with osteopathy. Kate was happy to proceed with treatment, which comprised of soft tissue massage to her leg, mobilisation of her knee cap and traction to the joint. I also used an osteopathic technique called Muscle Energy Technique (MET), which aims to relax muscles by stretching them after they have been contracted it for a short period of time.
Osteo-arthritis is very common in knee joints, as they are exposed to a low level of wear and tear over many years. Often the body repairs this damage, however, when osteo-arthritis occurs the cartilage at the end of the leg bones becomes worn and ligaments become lax, which affects the stabilisation of the joint.
The pain from osteo-arthritis is often caused by muscles becoming inflamed and painful as they contract in their endeavour to limit movement and stabilise the joint. Unfortunately, over time, the muscles can become so tight they exert pressure on the knee, compacting surfaces that are no longer well lubricated. The body then creates swelling around the joint as a protective mechanism.
My osteopathic treatment with Kate, therefore, aimed to encourage blood and lymph flow to the area to aid healing and decrease swelling, whilst tight muscles were stretched so that the joint surfaces weren’t so tightly compacted.
To help ensure that the changes to Kate’s knee were maintained I also suggested a couple of exercises, that she could perform at home as an adjunct to treatment.
* Patient name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
After Osteopathy treatment the swelling has gone down a lot and the pain has subsided. It is not keeping me awake at night and I am able to walk more comfortably. I am very happy with the treatment and outcome. - Kate, 12th April 2016.