Exercise doesn’t have to be hard to be beneficial. In fact, gentle, low-impact exercises are best for knee arthritis. They minimise stress on the joint as they increase its flexibility and strength.
There are several reasons to exercise with knee arthritis:
- Exercise maintains the joint’s full range of motion.
- Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
- Strong muscles help the joint absorb shock.
Here are some great tips and easy exercises to get started with:
Before exercising: 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 sometimes relieves pain. If you take pain medications, try taking them about 45 minutes before you exercise for increased pain control during your workout.
Exercise 1: Leg Raising Stretch
1. Lie flat on your back on the floor or bed with your arms at your sides, toes up.
2. Keep your leg straight while tightening your leg muscles, and slowly lift it several inches.
3. Tighten your stomach muscles to push your lower back down.
4. Hold and count to 5, then lower your leg as slowly as possible.
5. Repeat, then switch to the other leg.
Note: If you’re experiencing back pain whilst doing this exercise, you can bend the opposite knee up to take pressure off your lower back.
Exercise 2: Half Squat Stretch
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and stretch your arms out in front of you.
2. Slowly bend your knees until you’re in a half-sitting position. Hold on to a chair for balance, if necessary.
3. Keep your back straight and chest lifted — don’t lean forward.
4. With your feet flat on the floor, hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly stand back up.
Exercise 3: One-Leg Dip Stretch
1. Stand between two chairs and hold on to them for balance.
2. Lift one leg about 12 inches and hold it out in front of you.
3. Slowly, keeping your back straight, bend the other leg and lower your body a few inches, as if you were about to sit in a chair. Don’t cross the lifted leg in front of the bent leg.
4. Hold for 5 seconds and straighten back up.
5. Repeat and switch legs.
Squat Exercise Demonstration:
Checkout the video of our Physiotherapist Jack demonstrating and explaining squat exercises and stretches that you can do if you suffer from Arthritis… And if you’re just starting out, you can hold a chair and only bend as deep or as comfortable as you feel is manageable and just stick with the most basic exercises until it feels easy.
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.
Other exercising for knee arthritis: Walking is also an excellent form of exercise. It’s low-impact, and because it’s a weight-bearing exercise, it helps strengthen muscles and build bone. Wear good, sturdy shoes. Start out slow, and gradually increase your pace and distance for best results. We also suggest to walk up and down the lanes in a heated pool as a fantastic way to start any walking program for those suffering from knee Arthritis and find walking on land painful.
Please do not continue doing any of these exercises if you are experiencing severe pain. And either make an appointment with your GP or Physiotherapist to seek professional help.
If you are dealing with arthritis, please feel free to make an appointment at our clinic and we can help you on your journey to moving pain free.