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Helpful exercises for patients with knee arthritis

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Dr. S K S Marya
Arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints swell and become tender. Joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthritis, which normally worsen with age. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most frequent kinds of arthritis.
Knee arthritis is not curable. So, if a patient has this disease, they will have to live with it for the rest of their life. But through treatment and knee arthritis exercises, the disease’s progress can be stalled, and the symptoms lessened to a great extent.
Benefits of Exercise in Knee Arthritis
Exercise will be the last thing a person suffering from knee arthritis would want to do. Most people will assume that such activities will only worsen the condition and increase pain. On the contrary, exercise is one of the best treatments for knee arthritis. Some benefits of regular exercise include.
• Relieves pain
• Increases energy levels, flexibility, and strength
• Enables weight control
• Improves balance
• Helps you sleep peacefully
• Enhances bone strength
• Decreases stiffness
• Helps you perform everyday activities
There are numerous exercises that patients with knee arthritis can perform. But before you begin any exercise, it is vital to talk to your doctor at Max Healthcare. The medical team will guide you on the exercise that suits you and its duration.
Types of Exercises for Patients Suffering from Knee Arthritis
Enumerated below are the exercises that will relieve pain and benefit the patient.
• Straight leg raises
• Sit and stand
• Side leg raises
• Step-ups
• Heel raise
• Leg stretch
• Swimming
These exercises are easy to do. They will strengthen the joints and significantly reduce pain. But start slowly with your exercises and do not overdo them.
Straight leg raises
Straight leg raises can be performed in either a lying or sitting posture.
Sitting
• In a sitting posture, ensure that your back is straight.
• Next, straighten one leg and gently lift it.
• Keep the leg in this position for a few seconds. To make it easier, you can count to ten.
• Now lower your leg and repeat the performance with the other leg.
• Try to do this exercise at least ten times with each leg.
Lying
• Lie down on the floor.
• Now bend one leg and keep the other one straight.
• Keep your arms at your sides.
• Gently lift the leg a few inches from the floor.
• Keep it in that position and count till five, or even 10, and then lower the leg.
• Now repeat the performance with the other leg and so on.
• For best results, perform these exercises twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening.
Sit and stand
• Sitting and standing is easy to do and one of the most effective exercises.
• Sit on a chair in a comfortable position.
• Slowly and steadily, stand up and then sit again.
• This exercise will be more effective if you use your leg muscles for sitting and standing and do not take the support of your hands.
• Doing this exercise a few times a day will help.
Side leg raise
• This knee arthritis exercise involves raising one leg for a few seconds.
• Stand behind a chair and hold it firmly to ensure balance.
• Balance your weight on your left leg and raise the right one.
• Keep the leg raised and straight for around three to five seconds.
• Lower the leg and then raise it again.
• Do it ten times with the right leg and then the left leg.
Step-ups
• If you have stairs at home or in the vicinity, you can use them for some step-up exercises.
• You need not climb the entire stairs but need to step onto a stair with one of your feet.
• For example, you can step on the stairs with your right foot.
• With your right foot already on the stair, raise your left foot onto the stair.
• Step down with your right foot but ensure that the left is on the stair.
• Now bring down your left foot also.
• Repeat these exercises a few times.
Heel raise
• Stand behind a chair or any suitable furniture and hold it firmly for support.
• Next, raise yourself up on your toes.
• Remain in this position for approximately three to five seconds, and lower yourself.
• Repeat this exercise at least ten times.
• This is a simple yet very effective exercise.
Leg stretch
• This exercise can be done while sitting on the floor or on any other flat surface.
• Both your legs should be straight.
• Now, slowly bend one knee upwards.
• Continue this until you experience your knee stretching.
• Remain in this position for approximately five seconds and then straighten your leg.
• After another five seconds, repeat the performance.
• Do it ten times with one leg and then with the other one.
Swimming
• Swimming is one of the best knee arthritis exercises.
• It will enable you to maintain a healthy body.
• It is also suitable for arthritis.
• Swimming or just walking in water will enhance motion and help you get rid of pain and stiffness.
Tips for knee arthritis Exercise
Your doctor is the best person to suggest knee arthritis exercises that will be the most effective for you. Exercising under the guidance of a trained physical therapist will relieve pain, improve mobility, and help you perform basic everyday activities. The exercises aim to lessen the discomfort, not exaggerate, or worsen it.
Keep these tips in mind before you start your exercise.
Start gradually: Do not rush. Take it slow and easy. If you are beginning a new exercise routine, start slowly. Exercising too much will put extra pressure on your knee joints and worsen the condition of the knee. Initially, exercise for a few moments. As time passes, you can increase your exercise time.
Exercise regularly: Make sure that you exercise every day, even if it is for just five minutes.
Know when to stop: Take regular breaks. If you feel that your knee has begun to hurt, stop immediately. If the pain is persistent, talk to your doctor to ascertain its cause.
(The author isChairman & Chief Surgeon – Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement,Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi)


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