Bone-on-Bone Arthritis? Here’s How to Avoid Knee Replacement Surgery.

Bone-on-Bone Arthritis

“I don’t want to do anything crazy like run a marathon I just want to live my normal life without this constant knee pain.”
– Diane, 60, Los Altos

Diane had been struggling with knee pain for the past few years, after her doctors had done a scope on her meniscus that never fully recovered.

She dealt with the pain by just pushing through but slowly the pain got worse. It started to worry her when she could barely get out of a chair without sharp pain and stiffness that would take at least 15-20 steps just to loosen up.

Struggling to get up and down the stairs was painful, never mind going outside and doing some gardening. She was diagnosed with mild arthritis in both knees, and was told “you’ll probably need a knee replacement in 5 years unless you start losing some weight”. However, Diane couldn’t exercise because of the pain in her knees.

The amount of people with knee arthritis is rising and, with the endless options out there, it can be hard to know what is effective at treating your knee.

Knee braces, medications, injections and surgery not only run the risk of not working and wasting a lot of money, but also run the risk of making the situation worse. “I saw the degeneration on the x-rays, I’m bone-on-bone. How could I possibly get out of pain without surgery?” Diane had no idea that there was an alternative solution to her problem.

She couldn’t possibly imagine a world where her arthritis wasn’t causing her pain, since that was all she was ever told. She had tried physical therapy, acupuncture, and injections which never helped beyond temporary relief.

She got to a point where she had accepted the fact that she was doomed for surgery. However, we were able to turn it all around for Diane by addressing the root cause of her problem.

Her knee joint was creating friction by rubbing on each other. There are millions of people walking around each day that have arthritis in their knees, but no pain. They have the proper strength, and mechanics in their legs, feet, hips and ankles that allow them to keep pressure off of the arthritic area, and the inflammation that causes pain.

The process of arthritis cannot be reversed. However, with the proper support structure the pain and inflammation coming from knee arthritis can be completely eliminated.

This can vary but for Diane, it involved addressing:

1. A stuck kneecap: Because of chronic inflammation, her knees became very stiff, since her body was constantly creating scar tissue when her knee would get swollen. This made the muscles in her knees lose function since her knee-cap was too stuck.

2. Stiffness in her ankles from old injuries. We found out Diane had very stiff ankles from having to go in a ‘walking boot’ for 8 weeks following a bout of plantar fasciitis that was never fully addressed.

3. Tightness in her hips. She had developed hip tightness from years of working as a secretary.

Everything in our body is truly connected and often times tightness in parts of the body close to the knee (such as the hip and ankle) have a direct effect on the knee itself. Diane had no idea how much all of her other problems were making her knees compensate. When we addressed the muscle tightness in her hips, released the scar tissue in her knee-caps, and unlocked her tight calves and stiff ankles, not only did she quickly start to notice her knee pain was significantly less…it was easier for her to get out of a chair. As the pain started to lessen in her knees, she slowly gained more confidence and mobility as she walked. “I was able to do 2 straight hours of gardening, and I didn’t need to take a single Advil!”

Are you living with, or worried about someone with knee arthritis, and could be facing a potentially risky knee replacement surgery?

If you would like to know if your knee pain could be muscular, a thorough physical therapy examination can help.

Just give us a call at (650) 947-8500 and we’ll get you on the road to recovery.

Or visit us at:

kim gladfelter physiofit 1ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness

Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.

Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.

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