This blog post was updated on June 1, 2020. Previous comments have not been removed or edited.
More than 10 million Americans have osteoarthritis of 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 knee pain. But 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 nonprescription 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 strain caused by walking and other activities.
Many non-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. Another study conducted by Taiwanese researchers found that knee strength and knee function improved when people with osteoarthritis of the knee performed either weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing exercises.
5 Must-Try Knee Pain Exercises
Regularly performing some of these recommended osteoarthritis exercises for knee pain should help enhance function and mobility:
1. Straight Leg Raise
Sit back in a firm chair, keeping your back straight, and straighten one of your legs out in front of you. Count to 10, and then slowly lower the leg. Repeat 10 to 20 times with each leg.
2. Leg Cross
Sit on the edge of a bed. 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 4 sets with each leg.
3. Standing Heel Raise
Stand straight and tall, legs fully extended, facing a sturdy table. Place your hands on the table for support. Lift both heels off the floor, placing yourself onto your tip-toes and tightening your quadriceps to keep your legs straight. Don't allow your knees to bend. Hold yourself up on your tiptoes for one second, then lower your heels back down slowly to the floor. Repeat 20 times.
4. Hamstring Stretch
To stretch your hamstrings, sit up straight across your bed or on the floor, with legs extended. Bend one of your knees up and then drop that leg over to the side. Bend forward from your hips and reach your hands toward the toes of the leg that is still extended. You will feel the stretch in the hamstring of the extended leg. Hold the position for 20 seconds, and then switch legs.
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 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 20 seconds, and then switch legs.
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.