Arthritis is a disease known for affecting joints and the knees mainly. This can cause pain and swelling, making it difficult to be mobile and active. The thought of carrying out a variety of exercises may seem overwhelming and counterintuitive, especially when your knees appear swollen, stiff, and painful.
However, exercise brings lots of benefits and can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints. Exercise can help reduce symptoms, improve mobility and joint function, balance, and control body weight. Furthermore, medical experts recommend that people with knee arthritis should engage in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, and five times in a week.
Before you begin any exercise routine, it’s best to consult your doctor first, as your doctor understands your condition and can ensure exercises in your routine are safe for you and help improve your health. Start slowly to avoid overworking your muscles and worsening joint pain.
So below are a few exercises you can begin with at home or at your convenience.
Simple Exercises For Arthritic Knees
The following are some easy exercises for arthritic knees that can help you manage the pain, and improve the quality of your life.
1. Leg Raise
This exercise strengthens the quadriceps. They are the large muscles in the front of your thighs that attach to your knee joints.
- Lie on your back on the floor or mat, arms at your sides, legs straight and together.
- Keep your leg straight, tighten your thigh muscle and slowly raise it several inches.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles to push your lower back down.
- Hold for five seconds, then slowly lower your leg.
- Repeat a few more times, then switch to the other leg.
2. Standing Leg Lifts
The standing leg raises exercise targets and strengthens your inner thighs and the gluteus medius on your pelvis’s upper, outer edge. It also can be an important way to improve stability, balance, and strength by reducing the impact on the knees.
- Stand against a wall.
- Slowly raise one leg to the side without moving the toes; Keep the toes pointed forward or slightly inward.
- Avoid leaning on the stationary side.
- Lower your feet.
- Repeat 15 to 20 times on each side.
3. Leg Cross
Leg cross is an exercise that targets the lower abs, thigh muscles, and lower back. This exercise also improves knee stability.
- Sit down on the edge of a seat or bed
- Cross your ankles
- Push your front leg backwards and back leg forwards against each other until your thigh muscles become tense.
- Hold this position for as long as you can and then relax.
- Rest for a bit and then repeat a few times.
- Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
4. Sit and Stand
It strengthens your lower body and helps you maintain or improve mobility, range of motion, and independence.
- Stand in front of a sturdy chair that won’t move, with a table in front of you for support if necessary.
- Stand with your feet on the floor about hip distance apart.
- Press your butt and hips first, then bend your knees and slowly lower yourself to a sitting position.
- Hold onto the table if necessary so as not to fall back on the chair.
- Next, bend forward from the hips, push off with your feet, and bring your feet to a standing position.
- Repeat three times; gradually increase to more reps.
5. Hamstring Stretch
This stretches the back of your thigh and the back of your knee.
- Lie on the floor with both legs bent and feet on the floor.
- Slowly lift one leg off the floor and bring the knee towards your chest.
- Hold your hands under your knee on the back of your thigh.
- Straighten your leg, then slowly pull it toward your head until you feel a stretch.
- Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Repeat with the opposite leg; then repeat the sequence once or twice.
6. Hamstring Curls
This exercise strengthens the back of the thigh.
- Stand behind a sturdy chair or beside a wall and pause for balance.
- Bend your affected knee and slowly lift your heel toward the ceiling as painlessly as possible.
- Stay in this position for 5 seconds and then relax.
- Repeat for three sets of 10.
Apart from these simple exercises for arthritic knees, you could also try swimming, yoga, and recumbent cycling. Exercise is an essential part of arthritis treatment. Remember to consult your doctor and keep in touch to know when to adjust your exercise program.