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Arthritis Knee Physical Therapy Exercises

What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need

5 Proven Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis or Knee Pain- Do it Yourself

All physical therapists are prepared through education and clinical experience to treat a variety of conditions or injuries. You may want to consider:

  • A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with knee osteoarthritis and after knee replacement surgery. Some physical therapists have a practice with an orthopedic focus.
  • A physical therapist who is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist. This physical therapist will have advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.

You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.

General tips when you’re looking for a physical therapist :

  • Get recommendations from family, friends or, other health care providers.
  • When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists’ experience in helping people with arthritis.
  • Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and report activities that make your symptoms worse.

Types Knee Arthritis Exercises To Try

Here are some simple exercises for osteoarthritis of the knee that you can do at home easily:

Hamstring Stretch

This exercise stretches and strengthens your hamstrings, which are the muscles on the backs of the thighs that attach to the knees. Lie on the floor or bed with both legs bent and slowly raise one leg while still bent, bringing your knee towards your chest. Wrap your hands behind your thigh, not your knee, and then straighten your leg. Then pull your straight leg back toward your head until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then slowly release your knee and lower your leg back towards the floor.

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Straight Leg Raise

This exercise helps build muscle strength to support weaker joints. Lie on the floor supporting your upper body with your elbows. With your foot on the floor bend your left knee. Meanwhile, keep the right leg straight with your toes pointed up. Tighten your thigh muscles and raise your right leg. Keep your thigh muscles tight and slowly lower your leg to the ground. Switch legs and continue.

Seated Hip March

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Half Squat

This exercise strengthens your thigh muscles which support your knee. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and stretch your arms out in front of you. Then slowly bend your knees until youre in a half-sitting position, hold on to a chair for support if you need. Keep your back straight feet flat on the floor. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly stand back up. Repeat this process.

What Are The Signs Of Arthritis

  • Joint becomes stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee
  • Pain and swelling is worse after sitting or resting for long periods of time
  • Vigorous activity increases levels of pain
  • Deformities of the knee
  • Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue may interfere, causing the knee to lock or stick during movement
  • Feelings of weakness and buckling of the knee, poor range of motion

Diagnosing your knee arthritis early can help you seek treatment and therapies that relieve pain and preserve your ability to move without pain or difficulty. Knee pain can also indicate that you have osteoporosis, in which your bones lose their density and become more fragile. This condition can cause pain and discomfort similar to that caused by arthritis. If knee pain is interfering with daily activities more frequently, see your doctor as soon as possible to test for more serious conditions.

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Best Knee Arthritis Exercises

Studies show that moderate exercise of those diagnosed with knee arthritis improves patients physical function, strength, and flexibility, as well as reducing pain and discomfort.

Simple physical therapy exercises for knee arthritis help strengthen the muscles around your joints. Your physical therapist may recommend several different exercises to improve your symptoms of knee arthritis.

Some common exercises your physical therapist may assist you with include:

  • Hamstring stretchesthese stretches help relieve stiffness and loosen the knee joints while strengthening your hamstrings one of the muscles that run along the back of your thigh and connects to your knee.
  • Pillow squeezesyour physical therapist may recommend pillow squeezes to help strengthen the muscles inside of your legs that help support your knees.
  • Knee raisesknee raises help increase your range of motion and strengthen the back of your thighs and buttocks, providing more support and lessening the stress on your knee joints.

Your physical therapist will assist you with any exercises that may improve your knee arthritis symptoms and ensure that you are using the proper form to prevent any further injuries.

Pillow Press Between The Thigh

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Now we have to also strengthen the muscles on the inner side of our thigh, so to do this you have to come to the lying position on your back. In this position bend both of your knees and place a layer of two pillows between your thighs. Now simply press the pillow between the thigh and hold it for 5 seconds and then relax it. Repeat this process a minimum of 20 to 25 times however the more you do the better it is. As I said this muscle is aimed To strengthen the hip adductors muscles.

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Clinical Feature Of Osteoarthritis Knee

  • Pain: there is an insidious onset of pain with activities involving weight-bearing and knee flexion activities. Activities such as walking, stair climbing, squatting, sitting with knee bend, and getting up after sitting are painful.
  • Swelling and inflammation: patient develops low-grade inflammation.
  • Stiffness: later on one complains of morning pain and stiffness which is relieved with movement and activities.
  • Unable to bend the knee.
  • Crepitus: it is a characteristic sound on the movement of the knee.
  • Bony enlargement.
  • Muscle wasting and weakness: due to the long period of unused joint muscle becomes weak and muscle bulk reduces .
  • Exercising At Home Or Work

    The best knee exercises may be the ones you can do at home or even during a break at the office. Theyre easy, effective, and convenient, and dont require any special equipment. Do them slowly and gradually increase the number of repetitions as your muscles get stronger.

    Afterward, be sure to do a few gentle stretching exercises to help prevent your muscles from tightening up. Consider exercising your knees every other day to give sore muscles a rest.

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    Radiographic Findings Of Oa

    • Joint space narrowing
    • Advice on weight loss
    • The first-line treatment for all patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis includes patient education and physiotherapy. A combination of supervised exercises and a home exercise program have been shown to have the best results. These benefits are lost after 6 months if the exercises are stopped.
    • Weight loss is valuable in all stages of knee OA. It is indicated in patients with symptomatic OA with a body mass index greater than 25. The best recommendation to achieve weight loss is with diet control and low-impact aerobic exercise.
    • Knee bracing in OA can be used. Offloading-type braces which shift the load away from the involved knee compartment. This can be effective when there is a valgus or varus deformity.

    Other non-physiotherapy based interventions include pharmacological management:

    What Is Knee Arthritis

    Knee Arthritis Exercises | Best Exercise for Knee Arthritis | Physical Therapy for Knee Arthritis

    Knee arthritis is a condition that causes the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint. Cartilage is a firm, rubbery tissue that cushions the ends of bones in the joints. The main symptom of knee arthritis is pain and stiffness in the knee.

    There are two main types of arthritis that can affect the knee: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it usually affects people over the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis is less common, but it can occur at any age.

    There are many different treatments for knee arthritis, including medication, weight loss, exercise, and surgery. Physical therapy is another treatment option that can help relieve pain and improve function. If you want to try physical therapy for your knee arthritis, here are 10 exercises that can help. Keep reading on!

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    Before And After Exercise

    If you can, put a moist-heat pack on your arthritic knee for 20 minutes before you start exercising. Heat is soothing and it also brings the blood to the surface, decreases stiffness, and sometime relieves pain.

    If you take pain medications, try taking them about 45 minutes before you exercise for increased pain control during your workout.

    After exercising, put an ice pack on the sore knee for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help to bring down any swelling caused by exercise. It will also help to soothe and relieve pain.

    Strategies Physios Use To Manage Knee Oa

    Once the knee osteoarthritis diagnosis is made, your doctor will recommend starting physical therapy as soon as possible.

    See, this is a huge part of the conservative management of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis because it :

    • Reduces pain, stiffness, and swelling.
    • Keeps your legs strong, so you can do your daily activities easier.
    • Helps you slow down the progression of the disease.
    • Teaches you how to live with the condition.
    • Can delay and even avoid your need for surgery.

    Well work with you to achieve these goals through several methods. These depend on each physical therapist, though, as we all have different areas of expertise. You may want to find a professional specializing in orthopedics.

    With that said, most of us use the following strategies to treat knee arthritis:

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    Knee Arthritis Treatment Options

    The number one intervention is to simply TAKE ACTION! Youve come to the right place in that you found this article and video. Now, you must not ignore this knee pain as it will only worsen over time. The earlier that you take action, the longer you can maintain healthy knee joints.

    Physical therapy exercises are meant to strengthen the muscles that surround and support the knee joint. Strengthening these muscles with exercises MUST always be performed within a pain-free range of motion. A no pain, no gain mentality will get you further into trouble with knee arthritis.

    You must identify a pain-free range of motion with each exercise and stay within the range until the tolerance of the joint improves over time. Eventually, it will allow for an increased range of motion as the muscles grow stronger.

    Physical therapy stretches will improve the flexibility of the muscles that cross the knee joint to help to reduce any excessive stress that is placed through the joint.

    Corticosteroid injections are anti-inflammatory injections. They will help to reduce the inflammation within the joint. These injections can be an effective way to reduce symptoms to allow an individual improved tolerance to physical therapy exercises. It will also help to reduce any swelling that may be present in the joint.

    The injections will help treat the symptoms, but they are NOT treating the cause of the pain. This is why they are best utilized in conjunction with physical therapy exercises.

    Start Your Exercise Program Today

    stretches for arthritis

    Knee arthritis does not have to be a disabling condition. Exercise is very effective for improving your pain, function, and quality of life. Many people are unsure how to start and what type of exercise is best for their goals. Meet with your physical therapist to develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs. one of our offices to schedule your initial evaluation today.

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    What Causes Osteoarthritis In The Knee

    Before looking at how to manage osteoarthritis in the knee, its a good idea to understand how that pain started in the first place with a little anatomy 101.

    Rubbery and flexible connective tissue known as articular cartilage covers and sits between bones that meet in your knee. The slippery tissue cushions the joint, serving like a shock absorber as you walk, run, jump and otherwise move around the world.

    That cartilage takes a beating, though, and small tears naturally develop as the malleable material grows more rigid over time. The articular cartilage in your knee eventually starts to flatten and stiffen like an old chair pad.

    And when that cartilage stops absorbing the shock well, you notice.

    Factors that lead to osteoarthritis in your knee include:

    • Injury, which can lead to early deterioration.
    • Excess weight that puts added strain on your knees. For every 3 lbs. of weight you have, you put 10 lbs. of pressure on your joints, notes Dr. Orlandi.

    Aerobic Exercises For Knee Osteoarthritis

    The goal here is to get active to boost your heart rate and to do so smartly. Listen to your body and adjust the intensity of your cardio activities in response to knee aches and pains, says Dr. Orlandi.

    Ideal cardio fitness routines could include:

    • Walking. Track your steps using a fitness app or device to add motivation to your journey, suggests Dr. Orlandi. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes, too, in order to properly support your feet.
    • Swimming. Swimming decreases the stress placed on your knees. If you dont want to swim, thats fine, too. Just walking through chest-high water can give you a good workout. You dont have to be a fish, says Dr. Orlandi.
    • Cycling. Regular bike or stationary bike, it doesnt matter. Just pedal away knowing that youre getting in a good workout while limiting stress on your knees.
    • Gym equipment. Ellipticals, rowing machines and other get-you-sweaty devices can offer solid workouts while lightening the load on weight-bearing joints.

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    Physical Activity For Arthritis

    If you have arthritis, participating in joint-friendly physical activity can improve your arthritis pain, function, mood, and quality of life. Joint-friendly physical activities are low-impact, which means they put less stress on the body, reducing the risk of injury. Examples of joint-friendly activities include walking, biking and swimming. Being physically active can also delay the onset of arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

    Learn how you can increase your physical activity safely.

    On This Page

    Stay as active as your health allows, and change your activity level depending on your arthritis symptoms. Some physical activity is better than none.

    For substantial health benefits, adults with arthritis should follow the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendations for Active Adult or Active Older Adult, whichever meets your personal health goals and matches your age and abilities. Learn more at the Physical Activity GuidelinesExternal website.

    Learn how you can safely exercise and enjoy the benefits of increased physical activity with these S.M.A.R.T. tips.

    • Start low, go slow.
    • Modify activity when arthritis symptoms increase, try to stay active.
    • Activities should be joint friendly.
    • Recognize safe places and ways to be active.
    • Talk to a health professional or certified exercise specialist.

    Start low, and go slow

    Recommend Specific Knee Garments

    5 Simple Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis- At Home

    Wearing a knee brace can help you keep pain and stiffness at bay during the day. Which makes it much easier to live your life despite the osteoarthritis.

    Your physio will likely recommend one if your symptoms require it. There are several designs available, but the ones that can help knee degeneration the most are:

    Knee sleeves

    These minimalist garments work by providing compression to the knee joint. This in turn brings blood flow to the area, which can decrease pain and enhance mobility.

    For my knee osteoarthritis patients, I always recommend having at least one high-quality knee sleeve at home.

    It can be a life-saver when your symptoms flare-up. Or for those days when you want to do tons of stuff without overexerting your joint.

    Learn more:The best sleeves for knee arthritis pain.

    Hinged braces

    Knee osteoarthritis can cause meniscus and/or ligament problems, which inevitably affect the stability of your joint. In this case, a hinged brace may be the best choice.

    These garments provide external support to your knee, making it easier for you to walk, climb stairs, or even squat without having a wobbly joint.

    Check this out:Guide with the best hinged braces out there.

    Unloader braces

    Unloader braces are designed in a way that reduces the load on one side of the knee. As such, theyre best for people with unicompartmental arthritis.

    Further reading: Ranking of the best unloader knee braces.

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    What Are Some Physical Therapy For Knee Arthritis

    When it comes to physical therapy for knee arthritis, there are a number of different exercises and treatments that can be used in order to help improve the condition. While some people may opt for medication or even surgery, others may find that physical therapy is a better option. Here are the top 10 physical therapy examples for knee arthritis that can help improve the condition:

    How Did The Results Of The Cochrane Systematic Review Apply To Mr S

    Exercise is recommended as part of the first-line care for OA, and results of the Cochrane review support the use of exercise. Mr S himself stated that he had no regular exercise routine, and his goal was to be shown an appropriate exercise regimen that would help him improve his ability to walk and decrease his pain.

    Mr S started on an exercise program that included quadriceps and gluteal muscle strengthening exercises and calf and hamstring muscle stretches. The dose for the strengthening and stretching exercises was established based on examination findings, and the exercises were progressed to more challenging functional exercises with increased resistance as he improved. These exercises included sit-to-stand exercises, step exercises with emphasis on good lower-limb alignment, and resisted gluteus medius muscle exercises in a standing position with a blue Thera-Band. After 4 weeks, he was able to commence a progressively paced walking program, starting with 20 minutes on alternate days. If there was no increase in his symptoms, Mr S was instructed to increase the walk by 5 minutes at a time until he was comfortably managing 45 minutes. He also had borrowed a stationary bicycle and was encouraged to use it for up to 20 minutes 3 times a week. In conjunction, at his first treatment, Mr S was given education on OA and the importance of self-management strategies .

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