Easy Exercises for Arthritis of the knee
There are several reasons to exercise if you suffer with arthritis of the knee:
- Exercise maintains the joint’s full range of motion.
- Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
- Strong muscles help the joint absorb shock.
Leg raise (lying)
- Lie flat on your back on the floor or bed with your arms at your sides, toes up.
- Keep your leg straight while tightening your leg muscles, and slowly lift it several inches.
- Tighten your stomach muscles to push your lower back down.
- Hold and count to 5, then lower your leg as slowly as possible.
- Repeat, then switch to the other leg.
Exercise tip: Start with one set of four for each leg.
Hamstring stretch (lying)
- Lie on the floor or bed with both legs bent.
- Slowly lift one leg, still bent, and bring your knee back toward your chest.
- Link your hands behind your thigh, not your knee, and straighten your leg.
- Pull your straight leg back toward your head until you feel the stretch.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then slowly bend your knee and lower your leg back to the floor.
Exercise tip: Perform the stretch 1 time on each leg.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and stretch your arms out in front of you.
- Slowly bend your knees until you’re in a half-sitting position. Hold on to a chair for balance, if necessary.
- Keep your back straight and chest lifted — don’t lean forward.
- With your feet flat on the floor, hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly stand back up.
There should be no pain while performing this exercise.
Exercise tip: Do 10 repetitions, and slowly work up to three sets of 10.
- Stand between two chairs and hold on to them for balance.
- Lift one leg about 12 inches and hold it out in front of you.
- Slowly, keeping your back straight, bend the other leg and lower your body a few inches, as if you were about to sit in a chair. Don’t cross the lifted leg in front of the bent leg.
- Hold for 5 seconds and straighten back up.
- Repeat and switch legs.
Exercise tip: Start with one set of four leg dips for both legs, and slowly work up to three sets.
- Sit on the floor with both legs out straight. Stabilize yourself with your hands on either side of your hips and keep your back straight.
- Slowly bend one knee until it feels stretched, but not until it becomes painful.
- Hold your leg in that position for 5 seconds, then slowly straighten your leg out as far as you can, again holding for 5 seconds.
Exercise tip: Repeat and switch legs whenever one begins to tire, 10 times.
Exercise doesn’t have to be hard to be beneficial. In fact, gentle, low-impact exercises are best for arthritis of the knee. They minimize stress on the knee joint as they increase its flexibility and strength.