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Creaky and Stiff Joints Got You Down?

As we get older or the more active or reversely inactive we may be we all start to notice; creaky joints, joint pain, and stiffness at some point in our lives. These symptoms affect all joints however most particularly the knees because of their weight bearing function. Maybe you have become more inactive recently just sitting around and you’re noticing joint pain and stiffness. Or maybe you have been doing much of the same activities or exercises in attempts to stay active while we all adjust to a new sense of normalcy. Regardless, joint pain does not have to keep you from living the life you want! 

Symptoms related to joints:

  • pain/soreness or inflammation 
  • stiffness, especially when you stand up or begin to walk 
  • any kind or “noise” or what is known as crepitus. Crepitus refers to the popping or cracking sound/sensation in the knee. Generally refers to wearing of the cartilage.
  • decreased joint range of motion or mobility

The painless noise in your joints is common and quite normal. This can be due to the release of nitrogen gas bubbles (i.e. cracking your knuckles) or it is also often due to tendons and muscles moving over the joint. When it becomes painful is when you need to pay more attention to it. Why? This is most likely due to the progressed arthritic damage of the cartilage and bones. Arthritis is part of the normal aging process, initially it may result in pain and swelling however over time the sound will be due to the grinding of bones against each other. Don’t wait till you get to this point to do something about it!

So how can physical therapy help?

A physical therapist will evaluate the problem and design a treatment program based on your needs. This generally includes exercises that address joint mobility and flexibility in addition to strength. We will look at your biomechanics which refers to how you are moving during functional activities. We can help correct your bad mechanics and postures so there is less wear on your joints. Basically slow down the progression of arthritis. 

By Angie Austin, LPTA

Call LSTC at 703-450-4300 and start living pain free again!

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