Tips Before You Start A Walking Program With Arthritis
If youre new to exercise, its always smart to first talk to your doctor before you begin a walking program. Consider the current limits of your joints and work within those limits. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help create a personalized walking plan that gives you the most benefit without aggravating your joint pain. More tips to help protect your joints:
How Does Walking Help With Knee Pain
Walking helps in the following ways:
- Relieves stiffness: Walking will stretch the muscles that surround your knee joint. When you start walking, initially you will find it painful to move your joints. When you continue, it gets better.
- Weight loss: There is around four times less stress on your knees for every pound you lose. Weight loss is by itself a remedy for knee pain.
- Helps with cartilage regeneration: If you suffer from osteoarthritis or age-related joint degeneration, the cartilage that lines the joint surface is damaged. When the joints bear weight via any kind of weight-bearing exercise, the exercise can help rebuild the joint cartilage. Walking or weight-bearing also strengthens the bones that form the knee joint.
- Muscle strengthening: Walking on the right surfaces wearing the right kind of shoes helps strengthen your thigh and calf muscles. These muscles take the pressure off your joints and can handle more of the weight themselves. Thus, the stress on the knee joint goes down.
- Improve your balance: When you walk, your spine and pelvis align to your trunk and maintain your posture and gait. In long run, walking helps improve balance, reducing your risk of falls.
Will Running Mean I’ll Need A Hip Replacement Sooner
Q) I’ve been told after 17 years of hip pain that I have arthritis. I have a torn labrum, which is the ring of cartilage that lines the hip socket, and doctors won’t repair it. I’ll need a double hip replacement in the future, but at 39 I’m too young.
I want to go out running, but not sure what to do?
Michelle, via email – 2015
A) The question here is whether running will make you need hip replacements sooner, and whether the health benefits of exercise outweigh this.
Our joints and bones need some load passing through them to remain healthy. The cartilage lining our joints responds to this load, and weight bearing exercise keeps our bones strong and healthy. Our joints aren’t machine parts that just wear out. There’s a constant process of wear and repair happening in all our joints, so running itself shouldn’t be seen as harmful.
That said, some simple principles apply:
- Make sure to warm up and warm down properly.
- Start off with short runs and build up gradually to longer distances. A useful rule of thumb to avoid injury is to increase your distance by around 10% each week to let your joints become used to the training load.
- It’s worth going to a running shop to get trainers that will help correct any issues you have with your foot position.
- Consider doing some core stability work to give you the stable platform of core fitness you need to avoid injury.
This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell in 2015, and was correct at the time of publication.
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What Should You Take On Your Walks
There are several factors to consider when you strive for consistent walks. Plan ahead to properly prepare yourself for your exercise, deciding on location and picking up gear such as:
- Running shoes: Wearing comfortable shoes keeps you moving at a steady pace. Consider adding shoe inserts for extra support for your joints.
- Water bottles: Always have water near you to stay hydrated when you plan on being outside.
- Trekking poles: Depending on the environment, trek poles may be a good investment to help you navigate varying terrain.
Is It Better To Heat Or Ice A Knee With Arthritis
For an acute injury, such as a pulled muscle or injured tendon, the usual recommendation is to start by applying ice to reduce inflammation and dull pain. Once inflammation has gone down, heat can be used to ease stiffness. For a chronic pain condition, such as osteoarthritis, heat seems to work best.
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What Do I Have Against Revisions
Theyre more complicated. The results are not as predictable as virgin knee replacements, and theyre more likely to get infected or have other complications.
You should get only one total knee replacement per knee. Patients dont seem to care that much about this. They want their knee replacements so they can walk!
Every time I write an article about walking and arthritis, I get all sorts of naysayers who tell me their arthritic knees feel grrreat when they walk. And thats a beautiful thing.
I feel great when Im eating ice cream. Does that mean its good for me?
Yeswalking is THE BEST exercise humans can do. Its what were put together to do.
But remember, once were diseased, its not the same. Once I have diabetes, eating ice cream is not good for me, no matter how good it makes me feel.
I often tell my patients that theyre doing this exercise for their healthbut if it puts them under the knife and anesthesiahow healthy is thatespecially when were old?
Dr. Berginis a general orthopedist, surgically and conservatively treating all manner of bone and joint conditions. She enjoys educating patients so they can emerge stronger than they were before their orthopedic injury or surgery.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Walking
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis , a systemic form of the disease in which symptoms wax and wane intermittently, should also be mindful of when they walk. If you are experiencing a flare-up, it is important to allow your joints to rest and recover. Because of this, starting a walking program during a flare-up is not recommended. Once the inflammation and soreness have subsided, however, it is usually safe to start exercising.
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How Walking Helps Knees
The simple act of walking can have a wide range of benefits on your arthritic joints, many of which can help to decrease your pain. On top of that, getting up and moving each day can combat the joint stiffness and soreness that is associated with inactivity. The sections below detail the specific benefits that going for a walk can have on a knee with arthritis.
Verywell / Gary Ferster
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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How Is Walking Good For Arthritis In The Knee
When arthritis patients first start moving after a long time, their joints become a bit sore and achy. They may feel a bit uncomfortable due to the slight inflammation in their knee. But they should continue walking and the hurting achy knee should not keep them away from doing their usual activities. Walking helps to ease the knee pain for arthritis patients by:
Rebuilding the Joints: Cartilage is the springy tissue in the joints, which acts as a shock absorber for the knees. The knee cartilage gets damaged or worn out due to arthritis and leads to stiffness and pain in the knee joint and problems with mobility. To rebuild the knee joint, one needs to exercise regularly. The sponge like cartilage gets nutrition from the compression and decompression of the body weight as one walks and helps with arthritis in the knee.
Strengthening the Legs: Walking builds the leg muscles. Strong leg muscles lessen the pressure on the knee joints and take on more of the body weight themselves. This helps to decrease the friction and arthritis pain in the knees.
Promoting Weight Loss: Excessive pressure on the legs causes knee pain. Every pound of weight lost, decreases the pressure and stress on the knees by 4 times. So by losing weight, one can make a great difference in their knee joint pain from arthritis. Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise, which can help lose those extra pounds and benefit when one is suffering from knee arthritis.
What Are The Causes Of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
There are many potential causes of osteoarthritis of the knee. In people without prior injuries osteoarthritis is usually a biologically mediated inflammatory process. what does that mean?!? In our joints, we have 100s of proteins, cytokines, chemical, and other compounds which are made by the synovium, or the lining of the knee joint. When our joints are healthy, the chemicals in our joint support cartilage health and nutrition.
Then a switch flips similar to the changes that lead to other disease states. That switch turns on the genes in our DNA that code for chemicals that are hostile to the health of our cartilage. So over time an increase in those hostile chemicals eventually causes the cartilage cells to die. That weakens the cartilage and its ability to withstand stress. That can lead to pain, inflammation, warmth, and swelling. One look at the picture below and you can see how complicated osteoarthritis can be.
The pain in your knee is not often due to the loss of cartilage. Plenty of people lead very active lives with bone on bone arthritis changes.
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Making A Fitness Plan With Oa
First, some bad news: Youre not going to exercise arthritis out of your knee.
Theres no amount of physical therapy that can change the arthritis, notes Dr. Orlandi. But what we can do is make its impact a lot less. The idea is to change the environment in which the arthritis lives in your body.
That starts with establishing a lifetime fitness routine that builds cardio, strength and flexibility. The human body is awesome in its ability to adapt, says Dr. Orlandi. So even if you have a lot of arthritis that is painful, you can make a huge impact on how you feel.
How Much Can I Walk With Knee Arthritis
Consistency and moderation are important when it comes to walking with arthritis in the knee. To begin with, patients are encouraged to do about 1015 minutes of light walking per day and eventually work their way up to 30 minutes per day. You can do one 30-minute walk or several shorter walks throughout the day. Follow these tips to ensure safety and comfort when walking with arthritis:
- Warm up: Lightly stretching and warming up the muscles is always a good idea before exercising. This helps prevent injury and is particularly beneficial for patients whose knees are stiff due to arthritis.
- Choose appropriate terrain: Make sure you choose an even walking surface, such as a track or mall, to avoid possible accidents or undue strain on the joints. While some doctors believe a very moderate incline is helpful for the knees, flat surfaces are just fine.
- Dont overdo it: Begin by walking short intervals at a moderate, comfortable pace. In the coming weeks, your body and joints will likely feel better and stronger, allowing you to increase the distance of your walks.
- Walk when your knees feel the best: While walking may help arthritis pain in the long term, it is important to try and walk when your joints are feeling their best. For example, if you wake up with stiff, painful knees, it may be best to wait until later in the day to begin your walk. Additionally, walking right after taking anti-inflammatory medications can help minimize any possible discomfort.
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Is Walking Good For Knee Arthritis
Although it may seem counterintuitive, walking can help decrease the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. In addition, any form of exercise that helps you maintain a healthy weight can reduce the stress on your joints, and this may slow the progression of your arthritis. You should, however, consult a doctor to confirm that your knee pain is caused by osteoarthritis rather than by an injury for which resting would be appropriate. A physical therapist can help determine appropriate levels of exercise for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Consider The Barrier Of Entry
All you need to start walking is a decent pair of shoes, making it much cheaper than cycling.
If you decide to walk frequently, you can invest in a better pair of running shoes and breathable workout clothes.
If you plan on walking in the dark, reflective clothing might not be a bad idea.
If youve never cycled before, you might want to borrow or rent a bike to try it out before investing in the hobby.
There are also plenty of ways to get a really nice used bicycle.
You will also need to buy a helmet, lights, and reflective gear if you plan on riding your bike at night.
Some people even prefer to use padded gloves and shorts to make the bike ride more comfortable.
Or, you could always join a gym and use their bicycles, whether an assault bike for an extreme workout or a stationary bike or recumbent bike.
When it comes to the barrier to entry, it is much easier to get started walking than it is to get started cycling.
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Stretching Exercises For Knee Osteoarthritis
Stretching can help minimize the loss of flexibility in and around your knee. You want to make sure youre stretching your hamstrings, quads, calves and hip flexors to help address any stiffness you might feel, says Dr. Orlandi.
- Hamstring stretch. Stand in front of a chair or steps. Place your right foot on the chair or step, with your heel on the surface and toes pointed up. Slowly bend forward at the waist, keeping your back as straight as possible. You should feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for a few at least 10 seconds before returning to standing. Alternate feet and repeat 5-10 times.
- Quad stretch. While standing, bend your left leg back, bringing your heel toward your butt. Grab your foot with your left hand and hold. Try to bring your left thigh back until its even with your right thigh. Hold for at least 10 seconds. Alternate legs and repeat 5-10 times.
- Calf raises. Stand on a step with your heels hanging over the edge. Rise up on your toes and then slowly drop your heels down until theyre below the level of the step. Hold for at least 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Give yoga a try, too, to keep your joints and muscles in tip-top shape.
Will Walking And Exercise Make Osteoarthritis Worse
Q) I’ve developed osteoarthritis in my hips so I can no longer go for walks or dig my garden.
I’ve been told it’s caused by wear and tear, but that trying to keep walking will do no further damage this doesn’t make sense to me.
I used to walk every day for at least 30 minutes and longer at weekends and coastal walking on holiday. I also work out in a gym three times a week and took up Tai Chi four years ago. In other words, I’m much more fit and active than most 65-year-old women .
Is walking really not going to make things worse through more wear and tear? Is it possible to sign up for the trials of the gene/cartilage research I’ve read about? Or the caterpillar fungus research?
Diana – 2015
A) I’m pinning my colours to the mast here: from now on, I’m taking a zero-tolerance position on the phrase ‘wear and tear’ so let’s hear no more of it ! It’s a horrible term and makes people think of progressive, inevitable destruction of their joints, which doesnt fit with what we know is happening in joints that are affected by osteoarthritis.
Our joints aren’t machine parts that simply wear out. They’re dynamic tissues that are constantly responding to the stresses and strains that we put through them.
Being advised to exercise when it hurts to do so is difficult advice to swallow if we think about osteoarthritis as wear and tear. But it’s not that exercise will merely cause more wear to the joint. Movement will help to:
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The Role Physical Therapy Plays In The Process
Physical therapy is definitely beneficial. Improving range of motion and strength in the knee are helpful, but physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis has a large focus on strengthening the hips, explains Dr. Day.
Weak hips put more pressure on the knees. If your hips are strong, when you get up from a chair or go up and down stairs your knees have less work to do.
Everyone with knee osteoarthritis should consult a physical therapist, according to Dr. Day. Not only will you be taught the right kinds of exercises, a physical therapist also provides valuable instruction about using assistive devices and modifying activities to reduce pain.
Why Walking Is The First Step To Better Health
Here are some of the advantages of walking:
In addition, as you walk more and become more active, youll become more confident in your physical abilities.
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