Before you begin walking, get in shape a bit first. Losing weight
and muscle strengthening is the first step, enabling your muscles to
take pressure off the joint. Exercise and walking IS very good for
knee and ankle osteoarthritis, as helps move joint fluid around the
joint; lubricating the joint and actually easing pain.
1.Lose weight (if overweight). Many people with osteoarthritis of the
knee are overweight. Studies have shown that people who lose weight
have fewer knee problems in the future than those who do not. Being
overweight is also bad for your general health and increases the risk
of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. So you should eat a balanced,
healthy diet and keep your weight as close as possible to the ideal
for your height and age.
2.Quadriceps (thigh muscle) exercises. The quadriceps muscles at the
front of the thigh become weaker in everyone with osteoarthritis of
the knee, because the normal nerve supply to the muscles is reduced.
To overcome this it is essential to exercise the quadriceps muscles as
often as possible (see the exercises below). It has been proved that
strengthening these muscles not only improves your mobility but also
Studies have shown that patients who can lose weight and do these
exercises can improve their osteoarthritis most.?
Exercises as well as hydrotherapy can be found on this page as well.
?The authors conclude that patients with osteoarthritis who are
treated with a regimen that combines manual physical therapy with
supervised exercise have improved function and less reported pain and
stiffness than patients who are not treated with a physical therapy
program. This type of treatment may decrease the need for knee
?Staying at your recommended weight helps prevent osteoarthritis of
the knees, reduces the stress on weight-bearing joints and reduces
pain in affected joints. Once you have osteoarthritis, losing weight
also can relieve the stress and pain in your knees.
Exercise is important to improve joint movement and to strengthen the
muscles that surround the joints. Gentle exercises, such as swimming
or walking on flat surfaces, are recommended because they are less
stressful on your joints. Avoid activities that increase joint pain,
such as jogging or high impact aerobics.?
Water exercises and hydrotherapy are indeed a great way to exercise
your arthritic joints, as Umiat-ga stated in the comments! Some
studies have shown the benefit of hydrotherapy to be no greater than
gym exercises, but exercises are much more comfortable in a pool!
?"The gain in strength in the hydrotherapy group was of less magnitude
than observed in the gym group," said Foley, "suggesting that there
may be some effect of the water resistance on muscle strength, but
being so small, it was by chance that is was detected on only one
?In one of the most thorough studies to date on exercise therapy for
osteoarthritis, researchers in Australia have found that patients
engaged in hydrotherapy improve their strength and physical function.
Their findings also suggest a more rigorous workout?including weight
training?could offer an even greater benefit to patients with
osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.
It is well established that muscle strength is an influential factor
in the development and progression of osteoarthritis. Decreased
strength is associated with increased disability, more time in the
hospital, less joint stability, and exacerbation of pain. To date, the
effects of swimming pool-based exercise on strengthening of the
muscles surrounding arthritic joints has been inconclusive.?
?Muscle toning exercises ? Rehabilitation of the knee begins with
gentle toning exercises. Straight leg raising and leg extension
exercises are used to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles,
to provide support to the joint, and to counteract the giving out
sensation caused by disuse or weakened ligaments. These muscle toning
exercises are performed without bending the knee.
? To perform straight leg raises, sit on the edge of a chair or lie
down with the opposite leg bent (show figure 3). Raise your leg 3 to 4
inches off the ground and hold for 5 seconds. Sets of 15 to 20 raises
should be performed daily with the leg perfectly straight. As your
condition improves, perform straight leg raises with weights at the
ankle; begin with a two pound weight and gradually increase to a 5 to
10 pound weight (pennies or fishing weights in an old sock, 2 cans in
an old purse, or Velcro ankle weights).
? To perform leg extensions, lie on your stomach or kneel on all fours
(show figure 4). Raise your leg 3 to 4 inches off the ground and hold
for 5 seconds. Sets of 15 to 20 extensions should be performed daily
with the leg perfectly straight. As your condition improves, perform
leg extensions with weights at the ankle; begin with a 2 pound weight
and gradually increase to a 5 to 10 pound weight. Note that the
exercise should be performed lying flat if the knee cap is the source
If the straight leg raising exercises do not aggravate the underlying
condition, weighted leg lifts with a bent knee can begin. Initially
these are performed with the legs bent to 30 degrees, using the same
amount of weight and number of repetitions as with straight leg
raises. The amount of bending is gradually increased as tolerated, in
increments of 30 to 45 to 60 to 90 degrees of bending.?
Low Impact Aeorbics include walking, hydrotherapy, stationary bikes
and elliptical trainers.
Treatments of Osteoarthritis? - Several general principles for
living with arthritis should be mentioned. Weight control - with diet
and appropriate exercise - is extremely important to decrease the
stress on the arthritic joints. Exercise in particular, is an
important part of any therapy prescribed for patients with arthritis.
Range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises are important to
maintain or improve joint mobility and to increase the strength of the
muscles around the joints and minimize the stress on those joints.
Aerobic exercise, such as walking or riding a stationary bike helps to
decrease fatigue, improve cardiovascular health, and create a sense of
well being. These aerobic exercises may be difficult for those
patients who have pain in their hips, knees and feet, and a water
exercise program or protocol specifically designed for comfortable
movement by a physical therapist may be more tolerable for those
Even though exercise is extremely beneficial to the successful
treatment of patients with arthritis, rest is of paramount importance
as well. This may involve splinting a particularly painful or swollen
joint, or resting the body in general by getting adequate amounts of
sleep at night and with daytime naps. During periods of increased
symptoms or flares, patients will require more rest than during
periods when their arthritis is under good control.
? Seek help from a healthcare professional to assist you in setting up
an individualized program.
? Make a plan! Write it down! Set goals!
? Exercise at the same time each day so it becomes part of your routine.
? Find an exercise "buddy."
? Look for an appropriate exercise class.
? Stay in the habit of doing some exercise each day. On days when you
have more pain, make an effort even if you just do some gentle
? Vary your exercise routine; rotate your exercises.
? Evaluate your progress and enjoy your success.
There you go! Start slowly with water exercises, and some of the
exercises contained in the answer, then low impact aerobics. Gradually
increase the time/repitiions/distance and don?t overdo it! Eat a low
fat balanced diet, and you will soon start to feel better, and see a
decrease in your blood glucose. It?s important to increase your muscle
mass and strength in your legs before you walk too long and too fast.
Good luck! If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an
Answer Clarification, and allow me to respond before you rate this
Hydrotherapy + osteoarthritis + knees
Exercises + knee osteoarthritis
Exercise plan + knee osteoarthritis