6 Exercises to Help Knee Arthritis

6 Exercises to Help Knee Arthritis

Arthritis of the knee is a particularly mean condition, because it restricts people from participating in the activities that help make life more fun and more interesting.
— Dr. Sterett

If you are dealing with any kind of arthritis, you know that, to put it simply, it’s a real bummer.  Dealing with painful, swollen joints is not something that I would wish on anyone.  And arthritis of the knee is a particularly mean condition, because it restricts people from participating in the activities that help make life more fun and more interesting.

Although medications can be prescribed to relieve some of the pain of arthritis, you can also use certain exercises to lessen the painful burden on your knees. Here are some exercises that can help— many of which are used by some of the top physical trainers in the business.

 Arthritis of the knee can be caused by injuries or repetitive overuse of the joint

Arthritis of the knee can be caused by injuries or repetitive overuse of the joint

1. Standing Leg Lifts

Standing leg lifts will work your glutes (ya, yer butt) and your hips, increasing stability, strength, and balance. Being stronger in these places will lessen the burden on the knees and lead to reduced pain in this area.

Here’s how you do it:

Stand up on the wall and let the wall support you. Lift your leg to the side with the toe pointed forward. Then lower your leg down.

Repeat this about 10-20 times, switching sides when you finish. You can increase the reps as you get stronger.

2. The "Sit and Stand"

This works your glutes (ya, still yer butt) and your quads.  This exercise will help to improve your range of motion, which contributes greatly to overall strength.

Here’s how you do it:

Sit in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Proceed to cross your arms over your chest, then rise to a standing position slowly.

Take a beat, then slowly reverse the exercise and return to the seated position. Repeat the exercise for a couple of minutes. Do this often enough and you’ll build epic strength in your legs.

3. Kick-backs (standing)

Kick-backs will work your hamstring and make your leg muscles stronger. The exercise can also help to reduce general stiffness in the knee.

Here’s how you do it:

Start by standing up in a straight position, knees slightly bent. Then lift one foot off the floor and bend your knee, lifting your knee towards your buttocks.

Hold it right there for a couple of seconds, then bring it down. Repeat this a few times, keeping a straight posture with your knees aligned.

 Stretching is a great way to keep loose and train the body to be fitter and more pain free

Stretching is a great way to keep loose and train the body to be fitter and more pain free

4. The Lying Quad Stretch

This stretch works your quads, improving range of motion and flexibility for the knee.

Here’s how you do it:

Lie flat on your stomach, and place your forearm in front of you for supports. Bend your opposite knee behind you, and grab your ankle or you shin with your hand.

Lift your knee gently (you’ll feel a slight stretch.) Hold that pose for a few seconds. Do it a few times, then switch sides, using your opposite forearm for support while grabbing with the opposite hand.

5. The Lying Hammy Stretch

This exercise works your hamstrings, providing a stretch that can help you increase the range of motion for your knee.

Here’s how to do it:

Lie on your back and stretch your legs. Bend your right knee and grasp the back or your thigh with both hands, pulling your leg to your chest gently. Keep the knee pointed straight up by relaxing your arms.

Now try to straighten your leg as much as possible. Bend the knee again, the stretch it out again. Repeat on both legs.

 Once you master some of the exercises in this article, try swimming. It's an exercise that will push you while not punishing your knees.

Once you master some of the exercises in this article, try swimming. It's an exercise that will push you while not punishing your knees.

6. The Seated Leg Cross

This exercise can improve range of motion for your knee, and also strengthen the muscles around the knee. It works your entire leg, especially the quads.

Here’s how to do it:

Cross your ankles and simultaneously contract the thighs, holding for up to 25 seconds. Then switch sides. Try to do several sets per side.

This exercise will improve your posture and can be done anywhere that you find yourself seated during the day.

I hope you find these exercises to be useful as you combat your arthritis. Let me know if you have any questions! And be sure to contact your doctor if you feel your knee arthritis is getting to a point where it is becoming too much to combat with exercises.

-Dr. Sterett


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BILL STERETT, M.D. IS AN ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON RESIDING IN VAIL, COLORADO and THE HEAD TEAM PHYSICIAN FOR THE US WOMEN’S ALPINE SKI TEAM AND THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR THE VAIL VALLEY SURGERY CENTERS.

 Visit Dr. Sterett's new online resource for female athletes...www.thefemaleacl.com

Visit Dr. Sterett's new online resource for female athletes...www.thefemaleacl.com

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