More than 20 million Americans have osteoarthritis in the knee — and for many of them, the last thing on their mind is exercise. Individuals afflicted with knee pain may think that moving the joint will do more harm and cause additional pain. However, studies have shown that osteoarthritis exercises are one of the best things you can do for relieving knee pain — in fact, they can provide the same type of relief as non-prescription pain medications, with fewer side effects. Exercise combats osteoarthritis of the knee by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint. The stronger muscles not only provide greater support to the joint, but also act as shock absorbers, deflecting many of the day-to-day strains caused by walking and other activities of daily living.
Many low-impact exercises have been shown to improve knee health. A recent study led by researchers from Northwestern University found that exercise significantly enhances a person's ability to walk and stand up from a sitting position. Another study conducted by Taiwanese researchers found that knee strength and knee function improved when people with osteoarthritis in the knee performed exercises.
5 Must-Try Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain
Regularly performing some of these recommended osteoarthritis exercises for knee pain should help enhance mobility:
1. Straight Leg Raise
Sit back in a firm chair, keeping your back straight. Straighten one of your legs out in front of you. Hold for a count of 10, and then slowly lower the leg. Do 10 to 20 repetitions with both legs.
2. Leg Cross
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair. Cross your ankles while extending your legs in front of you. Push your front leg backward and your back leg forward against each other until the thigh muscles become tense. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Do 3 sets for each leg.
3. Standing Heel Raise
Stand up straight, knees fully extended, facing a sturdy table. Place your hands on the table for support while standing straight. Lift both heels off the floor, placing yourself on your tiptoes and tightening your thigh muscles to keep your legs straight. Don't allow your knees to bend. Hold yourself up on your tiptoes for three seconds, then lower your heels back down slowly to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
4. Chair Squat
Stand in front of a sturdy chair that has arms. Bend at your hips and lean forward slightly, pushing your bottom back toward the chair and slowly take a seat. Focus on using your leg muscles to control the motion, holding onto the chair’s arms as needed. Engage your leg muscles to come back up to a standing position, without your arms if safely possible. Complete this 10 times.
5. Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall with your forearms up against the wall. Slide one leg back behind you, bending the knee of the other leg. Lean your weight forward with your hips and press the heel of the extended leg down against the floor. When you feel a gentle stretch in the knee and calf of the extended leg, hold this position for about 10 seconds, and then switch legs. Do this 10 times total.
Be sure to take it slow and easy when performing these exercises, but be consistent. Studies show that you could feel improvement in your knees in as little as eight weeks. And remember that activity - not inactivity - will bring the best results. As always, discuss the appropriateness and safety of any exercise program with your doctor before beginning.
Seek the Experts
If you're still experiencing knee pain, contact Flexogenix® today for a no-cost consultation and let us show you how our non-surgical solutions can relieve your knee pain and improve your life.