Light exercise is one of the most effective ways
to relieve arthritis pain by stimulating circulation
and strengthening the muscles, ligaments, and
tendons around your knee. Strong muscles take
pressure off the bones so there is less grinding
in the knee joint during activities. In conjunction
with a healthy diet, exercise also can help you
lose weight, which takes stress off your arthritic
In the first few weeks of rehabilitation, your
physical therapist usually helps you stretch the
muscles in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves
while flexing and extending your knee to restore
a full, pain-free range of motion.
When pain has decreased, physicians generally
recommend at least 30 minutes of low-impact exercise
a day for patients with arthritis. You should
try to cut back on activities that place added
stress on your knees, like running and strenuous
weight lifting. Cross-training exercise programs
are commonly prescribed when you have arthritis.
Depending on your preferences, your workouts may
vary each day between cycling, cross-country skiing
machines, elliptical training machines, swimming,
and other low-impact cardiovascular exercises.
Walking is usually better for arthritic knees
than running, and many patients prefer swimming,
which takes your body weight off your knees and
makes movement easier.
Strength training usually focuses on moving light
weights through a complete, controlled range of
motion. You should generally avoid trying to lift
as much as possible with your quadriceps and hamstrings.
Your physical therapist typically teaches you
to move slowly through the entire movement, like
bending and straightening your knee, with enough
resistance to work your muscles without stressing
the bones in your knee. Once your physical therapist
has taught you a proper exercise program, it is
important to find time each day to perform the
After rehabilitation, preventing osteoarthritis
is a process of slowing the progression and spread
of the disease. Because patients remain at risk
for continued pain in their knees after treatment,
it is important they are proactive in managing their
conditions. Maintaining aerobic cardiovascular fitness
has been an effective method for preventing the
progression of osteoarthritis. Light, daily exercise
is much better for an arthritic knee than occasional,
heavy exercise. When you have arthritis in your
knees, it is especially important to avoid suffering
any serious knee injuries, like torn ligaments or
fractured bones, because arthritis can complicate
knee injury treatment. You should avoid high-impact
or repetitive stress sports, like football and distance
running, that commonly cause severe knee injuries.
Depending on the severity of your arthritis, your
physician may also recommend limiting your participation
in sports that involve sprinting, twisting, or jumping.
Because osteoarthritis has multiple causes and may
be related to genetic factors, no simple prevention
tactic will help everyone avoid increased arthritic
pain. To prevent the spread of arthritis, physicians
generally recommend that you take the following
anything that makes pain last for over an hour
controlled range of motion activities that do
not overload the joint.
heavy impact on the knees during everyday and
strengthen the muscles in your thigh and lower
leg to help protect the bones and cartilage in
Non-contact activities are a great way to keeping
joints and bones healthy and maintain fitness
over time. Exercise also helps promote weight
loss, which can take stress off your knees.
The following medications can help control pain
in the knee caused by osteoarthritis:
- medications like aspirin and ibuprofen may decrease
the production of fluids that cause arthritic
irritation in the knee. The dose depends on the
drug. Long-term use of anti-infalammatories may
lead to stomach irritation and related side effects.
lubricants - some physicians have had success
injecting synthesized hyalaronic acid, a naturally
occurring lubricant, directly into arthritic knees.
Lubricants usually need to be injected three times
over a six to eight week interval. This treatment
is more effective on less severe arthritis.
supplements - some over-the-counter products containing
glucoseaminochondroitic (glucosamine and chondroitin
sulfate) compounds claim to help regrow cartilage.
Some people who take these supplements have reported
benefits, but the effectiveness of the supplements
has not been clinically proven.
Physicians generally prescribe medication to treat
osteoarthritis in conjunction with R.I.C.E. (Rest,
Ice, Compression, and Elevation), bracing and
support, and a light exercise program.