Pain makes you want to stop and rest, curl up in a ball and not move. Arthritis pain can get overwhelming and it is something that without proper treatment can be quite debilitating. The knee is a common problematic joint as a lot of stress is placed through the area, and standing and walking on an arthritic knee can be something very unpleasant. Although the natural instinct is to shut down and rest, try to get the inflammation down, they key is to do exactly the opposite. De conditioned muscles around the area will mean a lot more grinding within the joint and a lot more pain. You can significantly reduce your discomfort by mastering the correct exercises and getting the muscles around your knee strong. In addition to the muscles of the knee, the muscles of the hip and the ankle joint can also take the pressure off the knee whilst performing daily activities. An exercise program should focus on these areas as well.
Theres not a massive science to it, you have to find anything you can do that doesn’t hurt, tick it off…and do it over and over. Get your body conditioned, get your knee stronger, get a little bit of eccentric work in and you will see your pain slowly start to reduce. Try any exercise once, if you don’t have pain, slowly build up the repetitions, weight and difficulty of the exercise. Stopping and not doing anything is the worst thing you can do, experimentation is key as everyone will have different movements that aggravate their pain. The rule is, no pain…keep doing it.
In saying that here are a few exercises that are generally knee friendly when it comes to arthritis, you may need to start at different places, lower degrees of difficulty, however they tend not to place a lot of pressure and shear on the joint.
These are for people with severe arthritis just starting to get into the swing of thing. It’s a very low level exercise and one that can engage the quadriceps without placing to much pressure on the knee. If you can dot his easily without pain, don’t bother, move onto harder exercises and get strong!!
Clam and Leg Raises
These exercises are here to isolate the glute medius. The glute medius is a muscle that is very important to knee stability and one that is weak in quite a lot of people. Isolating it to start will help to ensure you activate it during other larger exercises. Once your glute is functioning properly it can take a lot of pressure off the knee. These are two great exercises to help you with that.
Bridges are a further extension on the glute exercises and should be able to be performed by almost anyone as there is very little pressure on the knee. You can start in the double bridge, but once you can perform that easily and with control, you should move onto the single leg bridge to create a greater stimulus.
These are a great low level eccentric exercises that will help the muscles surrounding your knee, and your glute muscles.
These are great and have a lot of variations. Adjust the height to make sure that there is no pain, you can increase the stimulus by increasing the height (to no more tab parallel) or my holding weights in your hands or on your back. These provide a great angle and are a very functional exercise as we often have to move up stairs or stand on things in life.
Yet another group of muscles that ensure that the quadriceps don’t have to do so much of the work and can take the pressure off the knee.