There are a lot of people in this world who are suffering from arthritis. The number is in the range of millions. There are two major types of arthritis, namely rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). One symptom that is most common to both of these types is knee pain. But if you exercise arthritic knees, you may be able to reduce, or even relieve the pain of arthritis. This may look like a counter-productive measure, but it works effectively. Think of it as a machine, the more you use it, the less friction there will be. We will share 5 knee exercises for arthritis in this article.
Regular knee exercises do not only cater for joint pain in the knee. They can also take care of other arthritis symptoms, including swelling and stiffness. The reasons why you should do regular knee exercises if you have arthritis are too numerous to list. One of them is that it helps to maintain the full range of the joint’s motion.
Exercise also helps to strengthen the muscles that secure the joint so that they can absorb shock more effectively. Meanwhile, you don’t have to do any rigorous exercise to ease arthritis pain. The best forms of exercise for arthritis are gentle and low-impact exercises. They increase strength and flexibility, and at the same time, minimize stress.
What You Should Know About Knee Exercises for Arthritis
The last thing on your mind if you have arthritis is to move your knees. What you may not know is that exercise helps to build strength around your knees and keep them limber. You can take charge of your knee arthritis by doing regular knee exercises. But then, you should seek your doctor’s approval before you start any exercise regimen.
More importantly, you should not disregard pain while exercising and push through anyway. This could cause more harm to your knee joint that good. But then, it is normal to experience some soreness at the start of your exercise program. The only precaution here is that if the soreness refuses to go away, report to your doctor.
The best forms of knee exercises for arthritis are those that you can perform at home. Some of them can even be done during your free time at work. They are not only easy but also convenient and effective. You don’t need any type of special equipment to do them.
Take things slowly when you exercise your knees for arthritis. You should also start with a small number of reps. You can then increase it gradually as your joints get stronger.
After your exercise, make sure that you do some gentle stretching. These ‘disengaging’ exercises would help to prevent the tightening-up of your muscles.
Another thing you can do to make the exercise more productive is to skip one day for your exercise regimen. This means exercising every other day. This would allow your sore muscles to get enough rest before your next exercise.
If possible, you can do a hot compress using a moist-heat cloth on the arthritic knee. Place it there for about 20 minutes before starting your exercising. Heat would soothe the joint and bring blood to the joint surface. More so, it would decrease stiffness and may relieve pain, making your exercise easier to perform.
If you are on pain medications, you should take them like 45 minutes before your exercise. Most pain reliefs would be at their peak performance around that time. This would help control pain more effectively while you do your workout.
Easy Exercises for an Arthritic Knee
1. The hamstring stretch
- Lie down on your back with your two legs bent, and then lift one of your legs slowly. Keep it bent, and then pull your knee towards your chest.
- As you do this, let your hands link at the back of your thigh, not behind your knee. Then, straighten up your leg. At this point, pull the straight leg toward your head till when you feel it stretch.
- Hold the leg in place for about a minute. Then bend your knee slowly and bring your leg back to the floor. Do this stretch once on each of your two legs. It would stretch and strengthen your hamstring muscles.
2. One-leg dip
Stand in-between two chairs and hold them to enhance balance. Then, lift one of your legs for about 12 inches. Then hold the leg out with your hands.
Slowly bend your other leg. But make sure your back remains straight. Then bring your body down slightly as if you want to take a sitting position. Make sure your lifted leg does not cross your bent leg.
Hold the position for about 5 seconds before you straighten yourself back up. Repeat the same process and switch the legs, lifting the one that was bent and vice versa. Start with just one set with four repetitions. You could increase this gradually to 3 sets.
This is quite simple to perform. No elaborate steps. Spread your legs wide apart and stretch out your arms. Then, bend both knees slowly at the same time until you’ve come to a half-sitting position.
You could hold a chair for support if need be. Make sure your back remains straight, your chest is lifted, and your feet are flat on the ground. You should not lean forward.
Stay that way for about 5 seconds before slowly standing up. You should experience no pain with this exercise. You can do as much as 10 repetitions. Start with one set and increase it gradually to 3 sets.
4. Leg raise
- Lie down flat on the ground with your back. You could also use a bed. Make sure you keep your arms firmly by your sides and your toes facing upwards.
- While your legs remain straight, tighten up the muscles of one of your legs and lift it slowly for several inches. Then, tighten up the muscles of your stomach, to push down the muscles of your lower back. Stay in this position for about 10 seconds before you bring your leg down as slowly as you can.
- Repeat this process 4 times, and then switch over to your other leg. This exercise would strengthen your quadriceps muscles.
5. Leg stretch
- Sit down on the ground and stretch out both legs, keeping them straight. For stability, you can place your hands down beside your hips. Ensure that your back is kept straight.
- Now, begin to bend one of your knees slowly until you feel it stretch. Don’t wait till it becomes somewhat painful. Hold this position for about 5 seconds.
- After 5 seconds, begin to straighten out your leg slowly. Go as far as you possibly can. When you have reached your limit, hold the position for another 5 seconds.
- Repeat for both legs till you feel your legs are beginning to tire. But don’t do more than 12 repetitions at once. This exercise also targets the quadriceps.
Knee exercises would go a long way in managing arthritis. If you have arthritis, you should try them out if you have not been doing so before now.