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Alleviating Knee Osteoarthritis Pain with Foot Orthotics: A Step in the Right Direction

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition that affects millions of Canadians, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the knee joint. Various treatments and interventions can help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. One such approach gaining recognition is the use of foot orthotics, a non-invasive and cost-effective method to alleviate knee OA pain and discomfort.

Understanding Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that primarily affects the cartilage in the knee joint. Cartilage is the smooth, rubbery tissue that covers the ends of bones and allows them to glide smoothly over each other. When cartilage deteriorates, the bones can rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, change of bone shape and stiffness. While knee OA is more common in older adults, it can affect people of all ages, especially those who have experienced prior knee injuries.

Symptoms of knee OA may include:

  1. Pain and tenderness in the knee joint.

  2. Stiffness and reduced range of motion.

  3. Swelling and inflammation.

  4. A sensation of grinding or crunching when moving the knee.

  5. Weakness in the affected leg.

While knee OA cannot be reversed, there are several ways to manage its symptoms and slow down its progression. One lesser-known yet effective treatment option is foot orthotics.

The Role of Foot Orthotics

Foot orthotics, are custom-designed or prefabricated devices placed inside the shoe to provide support and improve biomechanical alignment of the feet. While traditionally associated with foot issues, such as plantar fasciitis, orthotics can have a positive impact on knee OA for several reasons:

  1. Improved Foot Mechanics: Foot orthotics can change the way feet move, which can affect the alignment of the entire lower limb. By changing foot alignment, orthotics can reduce stress and strain placed on the knee joint.

  2. Enhanced Shock Absorption: Orthotic insoles can be designed to absorb shock during walking and running, reducing the impact on the knees. This cushioning effect can help alleviate knee OA pain.

  3. Enhanced Stability: Orthotics provide additional stability to the feet and ankles, providing a more sturdy base of support.

Getting the Right Orthotics Before using foot orthotics for knee OA, consult a healthcare professional, such as a pedorthist. Pedorthists can assess your condition, recommend appropriate orthotics, and ensure they are customized to your specific needs. Custom-made orthotics are crafted based on a mold of your feet and offer the most personalized support. Orthotics also work in conjunction with footwear, having the correct footwear can make an impactful difference.

Knee osteoarthritis can be a challenging condition to live with, but there are ways to manage its symptoms and improve your quality of life. Foot orthotics offer a non-invasive and accessible option for individuals looking to reduce knee pain, enhance stability, and regain mobility. These devices can be a valuable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan, helping you take a step in the right direction towards a more comfortable and active life, even in the presence of knee OA.


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