Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis, where the bones in a joint are affected. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition affecting the bones and joints that causes the joints to become swollen and painful. Knee is most commonly affected by arthritis. It is most commonly seen in the ageing population, with females being affected twice more than the males. Knees can majorly be affected by either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Among the two, osteoarthritis has a greater prevalence.
Since the people affected with osteoarthritis are at a greater risk of damage to the bones, it is necessary to consult a physician before beginning any exercise routine. When the physician approves the bone condition for exercises, a physical therapist can be consulted to learn specific exercises from. The exercise routine should be initiated at a slower pace. If any discomfort is observed while performing the exercise, it should be immediately stopped.
While it is necessary to not exert oneself with too many movements due to the risk of pain, incorporation or movements in routine life is necessary. Staying inactive due to the fear of pain while moving does more harm to the knees. Exercises for osteoarthritis-affected individuals are targeted to build strength, improve the flexibility and stamina levels of a person. Routine exercise helps to reduce pain in the knees caused by osteoarthritis.
With the regular practice of exercises, knee pain can be reduced, stiffness of the joint can be decreased and the flexibility of joint can be improved as well. While practising the exercises, it is necessary to pay attention to the body signals too. If a particular exercise causes pain, then it can be changed in accordance to the patient’s comfort.
Knee arthritis pain can be controlled by a routine exercise regime and a healthy diet.
1. Standing leg lifts – This exercise helps to improve the balance of the body. It also improves the strength of knees and maintains stability. Overall impact on the knees is reduced by practicing this exercise. This exercise is performed by lifting a leg to the side and then lowering it down. Repeat for around 20 times on each side.
2. Sit and stand exercise – This exercise targets the quadriceps muscles and helps to strengthen the knee joint. The range of knee movement is improved and overall strength of the length increases. The important benefit of this exercise is that it makes it easier for a person to stand up for a longer period of time without any pain.
3. Standing kick back – This exercise helps to improve the strength of the leg muscles and also reduce the stiffness of the knee joint. In this exercise, a person should stand straight and lift a foot off the floor and bend the knee. Heel of the foot should be brought towards the buttocks. This position should be held for a few seconds and then lowered down. Repeat the exercise 20 times.
4. Stretch of the quadriceps – This exercise helps to increase the strength of the quadriceps muscle and also improves the range of motion for the knee joint. To perform this exercise, a person has to lie down on the stomach, bend one knee and grab it with hands. Slightly lift the knee off the floor until a stretch is felt and hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on both sides.
5. Stretch of the hamstrings – This exercise improves the flexibility of the hamstring muscles and improves the range of motion. In this exercise, one should lie down on the back with legs outstretched. The right knee should be bent and the back of the thigh should be grabbed with both hands. Slightly pull the leg towards the chest. Straighten the leg upwards and repeat the exercise for 10 time each on both legs.
Practicing these exercises routinely can help to ease the pain of osteoarthritis and also improve the range of motion of the knees. Regular practice ensuresan increase in stability, stamina and flexibility of the body.