The Benefits Of Blood Flow Restriction on Knee Osteoarthritis
What is knee osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint disorders in the world and is most frequently the cause of pain and loss of function. The majority of adults aged over 65, 80% of them suffer from osteoarthritis, most commonly in the knee.
When you look at the joint, specifically the knee, where the two bones meet at the joint, things like tendons, ligaments, fluid and cartilage are there to provide healthy, pain-free movement. However, osteoarthritis causes the cartilage that sits between each bone to thin and become rough. Which cartilage should be smooth and thick.
How do you know if you have osteoarthritis?
Typically, the only way to know for sure is through an MRI scan. This can have long wait times through the NHS or can be done quickly through private clinics that have access. So, some tell-tail signs could be consistent swelling after repetitive movement or exercise; pain and stiffness in the joints; tender and warm joints and limited range of movement. We always recommend you seek professional help if consistent and worrying symptoms occur.
What if knee osteoarthritis is left untreated?
If left untreated it can cause damage to the connecting bones and kneecap, causing the bones to become deformed which leads immense pain and loss of function, in which the only treatment is for total knee replacement surgery. This is the last resort due to the process being lengthy and rehabilitation being difficult for some people.
What is blood restriction training?
Here is a link to a previous blog that explains in greater detail.
Briefly explained the equipment are pressure cuffs placed on the highest part of the limb, which expands and puts pressure on, restricting the blood flow to that area, in which the exercise or movement will be performed.
How can this help knee osteoarthritis?
This training method can help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis through the increase in muscle strength and size, specifically in the quadriceps. It is a great tool to use for pre-and post-operative patients undergoing total knee replacement. The increase in quadricep size allows for surgery to take place with less damage and allows for the patient to be in a better place to start rehabilitation exercises. The knowledge of the training can continue afterward to improve their rehabilitation process.
Blood flow restriction is a promising new treatment for knee osteoarthritis. While more research is needed to determine its long-term efficacy, the current evidence suggests that it can provide significant relief for patients. If you are considering using a blood flow restriction device for any reason, you should understand how it works and its risks as compared to other treatments. Please consult with your physician first or contact MSKdoctors to ensure that it is safe for you.