Dec 01, 2020

Quick and Easy Exercises for Knee Arthritis Pain

Posted By: David Pittaway
physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis

Exercise and physical therapy is crucial for people suffering from arthritis. Arthritis affects millions of people all across the world. In fact, in the US alone, 23% of all adults have a form of arthritis, that’s over 54 million people. It gets worse though as 24 million adults are limited in their activities due to arthritis which is why physical therapy for arthritis is so important right now.

Osteoarthritis, especially when it affects the knee, can be incredibly painful to deal with and can essentially be described as a joint suffering from wear and tear that leads to further damage.

The two most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can both lead to knee pain that require knee arthritis exercises. Physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis can help to lessen and relieve the arthritis pain you are feeling, alongside helping with other symptoms such as stiffness and swelling.

Why Exercises For Osteoarthritis of the Knee are Important

People suffering from knee arthritis will have a reduced range of movement at the knee, and this reduced movement will lead to it becoming weaker. This is why it is important to keep your knee joint as mobile as possible through having physical therapy for arthritis. There are some knee arthritis exercises you can do at home, but if the issue is severe, you may need to see a physiotherapist to help regain movement in the joint.

It is important you consider exercises for the whole leg, not just the knee area, to ensure you get the best relief from an arthritic knee. Weakness around the hip and pelvis areas could further add to the pain you are feeling in your knee.

There are several reasons that exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee can be beneficial. These include:

  • ● Exercise can help support and maintain a joint’s full range of motion
  • ● Knee arthritis exercises can strengthen muscles that support a joint
  • ● Gentle, low-impact exercises can be beneficial for knee arthritis
  • ● Reduces stress on the joint through improved flexibility and strength

The best knee arthritis exercises may even be the ones you are able to do at home. They should be easy, effective, and convenient, without the need for any pieces of specialized equipment. By doing them slowly and repeatedly, you will be able to gradually strengthen muscles and improve joint mobility.

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.

Hamstring Stretch
Image Source:

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.

Straight Leg Raise

Seated Hip March

By strengthening your hips and thigh muscles, it can help with activities like walking or standing up that can be difficult when suffering from arthritis. For this exercise, sit up straight in a chair and kick your left foot back slightly keeping your toes on the floor. Then lift your right foot off the floor with the knee bent. Hold the right leg in the air for a few seconds before slowly lowering your foot to the ground. If this exercise is too hard then use your hands to help lift your leg.

Seated Hip March
Image Source:

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 you’re 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.

Half Squat

Calf Stretch

Holding onto a chair for balance, bend your right leg and step back with your left leg slowly straightening it behind you. Press your left heel toward the floor and you will feel the calf muscle stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat twice before switching legs. For a deeper stretch, lean forward and bend the right knee more.

calf strech

Other Knee Arthritis Exercises

Walking is a great form of exercise to help your knee mobility. It is a low-impact exercise and as it’s a weight-bearing exercise, walking can help strengthen leg muscles. Remember, if you are to go walking, wear the right type of shoes to avoid pain and discomfort. Don’t start out too quickly or ambitious with the distance. Like all other exercises you need to gradually build up your ability to do it.

Water related exercises are also effective. Walking in the shallow end of a pool can help with improving muscle strength and knee flexibility. In the water, your body will be buoyant, reducing the impact on your joints and helping your knee arthritis.

If you do have any questions relating your arthritis, or want to know about physical therapy for knee arthritis, then reach out to us at MyArthritisRx and we’ll be happy to help!

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