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What Is The Best Exercise For Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

The Best Exercise For Knee Osteoarthritis

6 Great Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis – Ask Dr. Abelson

March 30, 2022 by Paul

In this post we discuss the best exercise for knee Osteoarthritis.

If youve been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis of the knee and youre not sure what type of exercise will benefit you, we look at the most effective options.

What is Osteoarthritis ?

OA is a disease that impacts the cartilage which covers the ends of bones and allows frictionless movement of your joints.

It also has an effect on the subchondral bone immediately underneath the cartilage and the lining of the joint capsule. Its more accurate to say OA is a disease of the joint rather than just the cartilage.

The cause of OA is complex. It used to be considered solely a wear and tear disease but our understanding of OA is changing.

A common explanation for its appearance is that youve overused the joint. The 50% prevalence of OA in older populations seems to support this assessment.

More recently however researchers have suggested inflammation may play a major role. Either in the joint itself, or more broadly in the body as a whole.

Studies have shown that reducing systemic inflammation can slow the progression of the disease and reduce symptoms.

Exercise and OA.

Youve probably been told exercise will benefit you. Perhaps youre not sure where to start though, or youve had mixed results applying it.

As OA is often described as a wear and tear disease, you might also be wondering if more wearing and tearing will help.

Fair point.

What does that mean? Dont do too much too soon.

Kinesic Exercises For Knee Osteoarthritis

In this case, the Physical Therapists have sufficient training to be able to best approach osteoarthritis of the knee, since they have knowledge about anatomy, biomechanics, movement analysis, physiotherapy, exercise prescription and clinical reasoning, using mats, therapeutic balloons, elastic bands and exercise pulleys for knee osteoarthritis.

They also complement physical therapy exercises, to reduce pain and increase joint mobility, using analgesic equipment with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and Interferential Therapy currents, warm compresses, coldpack, manual therapy and massage in contractured muscles.

The Achilles heel of the kinesic exercises is that they are mostly monotonous, boring and not functional, which is reflected in a low adherence to treatment.

Is Exercise Good Or Bad For Arthritis Of The Knee

Is Exercise Good or Bad for Arthritis of the Knee?

You might not know, but there are almost 100 types of arthritis, but the most common cause of knee pain related to arthritis is osteoarthritis, a degenerative form of arthritis. Its a condition marked by wear-and-tear of the joint. In fact, around one in three people over the age of 60 have evidence of knee arthritis on X-ray. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one out of 20 young and middle-aged adults have arthritis severe enough to interfere with their ability to work and function efficiently.

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Treating Patients Suffering From Osteoarthritis

Horder Healthcare treats patients suffering from osteoarthritis as part of its comprehensive healthcare service.

Our team provide access to the right information and exercise advice to improve problem areas. If you suffer from mild or moderate osteoarthritis, there are plenty of ways to reduce symptoms by making small but sometimes significant lifestyle changes.

Osteoarthritis affects the movement of this joint through a series of stages:

Cartilage becomes rough over the main surface of the knee and underneath the kneecap. This causes the bone underneath the cartilage to grow thicker over a broader area. The tissue tries to repair the problem, however, the reaction can lead to swelling in the joint along with thickening and contractions of the knee ligaments.

Although a cure for osteoarthritis is currently unavailable, exercise can reduce symptoms.

The following land and water-based exercises are recommended:

  • If you are testing water-based exercises for the first time, begin with slow, gentle movements, particularly if your knees are weak from surgery.
  • Bicycle using the side of the pool, a rail or a step, find a position that allows your legs to straighten. Next, gently bring your knees up and begin a circular motion like riding a bike.
  • Lunges using a step in the shallow end of the pool, place one foot on the step and gently bring your body forward into a lunge position. Hold the position until your knee feels uncomfortable and repeat.

Preparing For Knee Exercises

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Health care providers advise a warm up before exercise and a cool down after exercise.

Warm up: Exercise should typically be preceded by a 10-minute warm-up activity. A warm-up increases blood flow and literally warms up the body, making muscles more flexible. A good warm-up is a walk or other slow-paced aerobic activity. For those with more severe arthritis, a warm compress and gentle range-of-motion activities might be sufficient.

Post workout: Immediately after a workout, the knees may feel swollen and achy, but steps can be taken to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Some people elevate the knees or ice the knees with a cold compress . Over-the counter NSAID medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may be used occasionallyjust keep in mind that regular long-term use can lead to stomach problems, particularly in older adults.

If pain is felt during knee exercises, stop and seek advice from a healthcare professional or an appropriately qualified athletic trainer before continuing.

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Benefits And Mechanisms Of Exercise Training For Knee Osteoarthritis

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, China
  • 3School of Rehabilitation, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • 4Department of Orthopedics, Jiangxi Provincial Peoples Hospital Affiliated to Nanchang University, Nanchang, China

Exercising With Arthritis Of The Knee

Always consult with an orthopedic, sports medicine, or physical therapist professional before starting an exercise program. They will likely recommend low-impact exercise over high-impact exercise where both feet leave the ground. High-impact exercise places more stress on the knees and can worsen the soreness, although there isnt strong evidence that it speeds up the progression of knee arthritis. You may also experience discomfort when you climb stairs. The key is to listen to your body and modify exercises that increase pain.

You also need resistance training to strengthen the muscles in the thigh that support and stabilize the joint. So, dont neglect strength training. Stick to lighter weights and higher reps. You can still get strength and hypertrophy gains if you do enough repetitions to fatigue the muscles. Always do at least a 5-minute dynamic warm-up to increase the flexibility of the muscle. Let pain be your guide. If an exercise feels uncomfortable, modify it or dont do it. It also helps to apply ice to your joints after a workout to prevent soreness and swelling.

  • Exercise Can Help Knee Pain if You Stick With It
  • Inflammation May Affect Osteoarthritis

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Youre Passing On Fruits And Vegetables Which Can Help You Lose Weight

People who eat more fruit, as well as those who are active and generally in good health, tend to have lower levels of osteoarthritis pain, according to the results of a survey of 197 adults published in September 2015 in the journal Pain Research & Management. Plus, eating healthier and being active can help reduce weight, which can also help reduce stress on the knee joint. In general, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats, and avoid processed foods if you need to lose weight, says Dr. Johnson.

Thigh And Hip Strengthening Seated Leg Raises

6 BEST Exercises For Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) Stretches & Strengthening Rehab

This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front of the thigh, the quadriceps.

  • Sit in a chair with the knees bent, feet dangling above the ground. Add pillows to the seat of the chair if necessary.
  • Holding onto the sides of the chair for stability, slowly extend left leg until it is nearly parallel to the floor. Try to keep the leg as straight as possible without locking the knee.
  • Pause briefly holding the leg straight, and then return back to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the right leg. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions on each side.

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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:

    • Aging.
    • 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.
    • Genetics.

    Should I Exercise If I Have Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

    May 11, 2018

    Osteoarthritis of the knee causes pain, stiffness, and swelling that can make it hard to get up and move. However, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your knees if you have arthritis. There are different types of exercise that can reduce pain and even prevent some further damage to the joints.

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    How Can I Prevent Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

    While you cant always prevent osteoarthritis of the knee, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk youll develop it:

    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • If you jog or run, do so on grass or soft surfaces.
    • Vary your fitness routine with low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling.
    • Add light strength training to your fitness routine.

    Before And After Exercise

    Knee Osteoarthritis Exercises

    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.

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    Move : Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie on your back in bed or on the floor.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your right thigh.
  • Slowly straighten your knee out and gently pull your leg toward your body.
  • Hold the stretch here and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Stretching your hamstrings is a must for those with knee OA, according to Kaiser Permanente. Improving this muscle’s flexibility can help maintain your knee joint’s range of motion.

    “Make sure to not push into the tightness to where it becomes pain,” says Melissa Garcia, DPT, CSCS, a Washington-based physical therapist. “Slowly ease into the range of motion with each repetition.”

    Squats And Lunges With Knees Caving In

    You know you shouldnt allow your knees to collapse inward as you lower into a squat, but do you know why? Squatting with the knees coming together does not equally load the joint, which causes excessive wearing of the knee, Ebner says. Besides the unequal loading, this movement pattern can lead to ACL tears, and does not lead to strong and powerful legs.

    It applies to lunges too. The knee collapsing inward in a lunge position can be related to poor core control, hip strength, and trunk stability, Ebner says.

    Fix it: When performing squats and lunges, think about pressing your knees outward slightly. This will help you maintain proper alignment while also activating your glutes.

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    Will I Always Need Medical Treatment For Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

    You might always need pain medication to ease your symptoms. Many people find exercise and physical therapy helps their symptoms. People also benefit from self-management programs that provide information about living with osteoarthritis of the knee. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can use exercise and other self-care to manage your symptoms.

    Based On Your Lifestyle

    Leg Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis (Physiotherapist Demo)

    The best exercises may also depend on your lifestyle. If someone sits a lot, they need to do exercises that will allow the knee joint to extend, Woods says. This could be as simple as a seated leg extension in which you lift the knee and extend the leg. One caution: People with arthritis or pain at the kneecap may want to avoid extending their legs past a 45-degree angle, Ebner says.

    In contrast, someone who stands most of the day needs to give their knees a chance to bend. To do so, simply lift one heel and then the other toward your backside while standinglike youre trying to kick yourself in the rear. Alternate from side to side a few times, and repeat the exercise every day.

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    Different Types Of Exercise Training

    In clinical, there are several exercise trainings options for the treatment of KOA, including aerobic exercise, strength training, neuromuscular exercise, balance training, proprioception training, aquatic exercise, and traditional exercise . Each kind of exercise training therapy has corresponding therapeutic mechanism and special therapeutic effect on KOA.

    Figure 4. Different exercise training types of KOA. There are several exercise trainings options for treating KOA in the clinic, including aerobic exercise, strength training, neuromuscular exercise, balance training, proprioception training, aquatic exercise, and traditional exercise. Strength training includes isokinetic exercise, isometric exercise, and isotonic exercise. Traditional exercise includes Ba Duanjin, Tai Chi, Wuqinxi, and Yoga.

    Aerobic Exercise and KOA

    Aerobic exercise can promote the metabolism of adipose tissue, prevent muscle atrophy, accelerate the recovery of damaged cartilage, enhance the bodys immunity, and relieve pain. Different intensities of aerobic exercise have different therapeutic effects. Low-intensity aerobic exercise is better for patients with severe KOA, and high-intensity aerobic exercise is more suitable for patients with mild KOA. Furthermore, for mild KOA patients with chronic diseases, high-intensity interval training is better. Doctors should choose the most appropriate treatment for different patients.

    Strength Training and KOA

    Isokinetic Exercise and KOA
    Ba Duanjin and KOA

    Best Exercises For Osteoarthritis Of The Knees

    Three good beginner exercises are the following:

  • Quad Sets: Tighten your thigh and push your knee down into the bed.
  • Straight Leg Raise: Start with knee straight out and the other knee bent. Lift leg straight up towards ceiling. Pause, then lower.
  • Sit to Stand: Try these exercises 2-3 times per day. Walking is also a good exercise. However, walking on a treadmill or on uneven surfaces can make discomfort worse due to the higher impact to the knees.
  • If you have increased pain in the knees or you arent noticing improvements in 2 weeks with these exercises, request an appointment with one of our movement specialists at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy for an evaluation and an exercise program for your specific needs. You dont have to live with the discomfort of OA of the knees we can help you restore hope through movement!

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    Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis In The Knee

    These symptoms usually come on gradually, and will worsen over months or years if the issue isnt treated.

    • Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest. You may also have constant low levels of dull pain, achiness, or sharp and intense pain.
    • Swelling in the knee joint.
    • Stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after prolonged sitting.
    • Creaking or crackling in the knee with movement.
    • Buckling or locking of the knee.

    Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria

    9 At

    Only RCTs involving subjects with knee osteoarthritis were included. Trials were required to compare exercise therapy with a non-exercise control group. The exercise mode was scrutinised and the trial was only included if the regimen employed involved predominantly aerobic walking or home based quadriceps strengthening exercise. Exercise was considered to be home based where it was undertaken exclusively in the subjects home environment or, where exercise was partly supervised, the regimen was intended to be continued at home unsupervised. The outcome measures of interest were pain or self reported disability or both.

    RCTs were excluded if publication was in abstract form only or if the exercise regimen was perioperative. Only English language publications were considered. If an RCT included subjects with osteoarthritis of joints other than the knee and provided only aggregated data, the authors were contacted to request disaggregated data. The study was excluded if disaggregated data could not be provided.

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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.

    Examples include:

    • 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.


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