While the pain and inflammation of knee osteoarthritis can make exercise feel like the last thing you’d put on your schedule, working out is exactly what experts recommend for finding knee osteoarthritis pain relief and improving function. What exercises are best for easing you into a more active lifestyle, and which exercises for knee osteoarthritis will provide the most stability and pain relief?
Exercises to Ease You Off The Couch
Avoiding the pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis is a major reason many people become less active, but like Newton said, an object in motion will stay in motion, and the knees are no exception. "There's an old myth that if it hurts, you don't do it," says Dr. Patience White, professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The opposite is actually true; "If you do the right low-impact exercises, you can actually reduce pain." Modifying your activities to include those less stressful on your knees, like walking, bicycling, swimming, and yoga, can keep your joints limber and provide knee osteoarthritis relief.
The CDC generally recommends 150 minutes per week of “accumulated moderate aerobic activity and strength training,” but a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism stresses that exercising more frequently will provide greater benefits than fewer, longer or more intense training sessions. Simply adding regular exercise showed a positive effect on pain and disability in most trials in the study, reducing pain by almost 20%.
Exercises for Stability and Endurance
The findings also suggested that focusing on either resistance training or aerobic conditioning in your daily workouts is the most effective method for reducing pain from knee osteoarthritis. When strength training, using routines that focus on strengthening the quadriceps and other muscles surrounding the knee joint prove most beneficial for increasing joint stability. The strengthened muscles help to absorb the extra force that the joints would normally take, and keeps them moving in a mechanically sound range of motion. On aerobic conditioning days, choosing low impact exercises also serves to lube the joints and promotes healing. According to Audrey Lynn Millar, PhD, professor of Physical Therapy at Winston Salem State University, "The way we get nutrition into our joints is by contracting and relaxing them, which we do through movement."
Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis to Increase Flexibility
The stiffness of knee osteoarthritis can make any movement feel difficult and strained, so working with a trained physiotherapist to increase range of motion with stretching and strengthening exercises is key to maintaining joint flexibility and mobility. Also, adopting a regular yoga practice will keep the muscles and soft tissues in the leg long and pliant, so they aren’t pulling on the structures of the knee, which could cause additional pain.
Are You Ready to Reclaim Your Active Lifestyle?
At Envista Medical, we provide non-surgical alternatives for knee osteoarthritis pain relief. From trigger point injections for rapid and effective pain relief to chiropractic care, physiotherapy, and bracing for joint stability and rehabilitation, easing your knee osteoarthritis is our priority. Contact us today for an appointment with a knee specialist!