Millions of individuals all across the globe suffer from arthritic knees and the pain that’s often associated with it. In an attempt to address this issue, an innovative exercise plan has been developed to improve the functioning of the knee while alleviating discomfort and pain associated with the disease.
What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?
Knee osteoarthritis is one of the more common forms of arthritis found in the knee and is a degenerative disorder – this means that it’s brought on by daily wear and tear so to speak. It limits your ability to move around and lead an active lifestyle as the joints rub against one another. The easiest way to reduce the symptoms of the degenerative disorder is through regular exercise; however, due to the pain experienced, many people suffering from the condition avoid physical activity altogether.
What Is STEP-KOA?
Stepped exercise program for patients with knee osteoarthritis, or STEP-KOA, is an exercise programme that makes use of gentle home exercises to assist with physical therapy. When necessary, telephonic consultations and in-person sessions can also be utilised. This has proven to be an effective tool in treating osteoarthritis in the knee when people are unable to make it to physical therapy sessions. However, it does make provision for in-person sessions should the condition worsen. When it comes to determining the exercises, a patient needs to perform, doctors and physical therapists will develop a programme based on their unique needs and progression of the disease.
The Science Behind Stepped Exercise
The Veterans Affairs Health Care System completed a study where 300 patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis were either assigned arthritis education or STEP-KOA to manage the condition. The patients for each group were randomly selected.
The patients using STEP-KOA started the internet-based programme and those that found it to be ineffective in assisting them moved on to the telephonic consultation aspect of the programme. In the event that this treatment has still not worked, face to face physical therapy will be utilised.
Patients in the educational programme were sent educational resources every two weeks.
Nine months after starting the study, 65% of the STEP-KOA had to take on telephonic consultations while 35% had to start going to in-person therapy.
When comparing the data of the two study groups, the STEP-KOA group experienced more pain relief and improved function compared to the group that received the educational resources.
As a result, the researchers concluded that STEP-KOA is a customisable, inexpensive programme able to meet the needs of its patients. However, more research is needed as the data is limited to the nine-month period of the study.
A stepped exercise programme improves knee osteoarthritis by helping patients manage their pain and improve flexibility through regular exercise. In keeping with the theme of flexibility, the programme will be developed in accordance with the patient’s medical history, and as the disease begins to progress, so will the programme as it allows for immediate intervention should the condition worsen.
Assisting people who suffer from chronic conditions such as knee osteoarthritis – is one of the aspects that personal trainers are schooled in. If this is something that you’d like to do, then you need to check out our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to find out more.