Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program if you have osteoarthritis.
Stretching the Hamstring
Walk for 5 minutes as a warmup. Stretch. Lie down. Put a bed sheet around your right foot and use it to help pull and stretch your leg up. Hold that position for 20 seconds. Repeat this twice, then switch legs. There are 3 important types of exercises for knee OA. Range of motion or stretching exercises which keep you limber. Strengthening exercises which build muscle strength in order to stabilize weak joints. Aerobic exercises, like walking, which help the lung and heart.
Stretching exercises help loosen muscles and improve flexibility. They also help prevent pain and injury.
While using a chair for balance, bend your right leg then step back with your left leg, slowly straightening it behind you. Press your left heel towards the floor. You will now feel the stretch in your back leg.
If you want more of a stretch then lean forward while bending the right knee deeper. However don’t let the right knee go past your toes. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Do it twice and then switch legs.
Straight Leg Raise
Lie on the floor and prop your back up on your elbows. Bend your left knee while keeping your foot on the floor. Keep the right leg straight with your toes pointed up. Tighten the thigh muscles of your right leg. Smoothly and slowly use your thigh muscles — but not your back — to raise your leg.
Pause for five seconds. While your thigh is still tight, slowly lower your leg to the ground. Relax. Repeat this 10 times. Rest. Do another 10 sets; then switch legs.
If the straight leg raise is too tough then do quad sets instead. With these you don’t have to raise your leg. Just tighten the thigh muscles (quadriceps) of one leg at a time.
Begin by lying on the floor keeping both legs on the ground, relaxed. Flex and hold your left leg tense for five seconds and then relax. Do 2 sets of 10. Then, switch to the other leg.
Seated Hip March
Doing this can strengthen hips and thigh muscles to help you with daily activities, like walking or getting up from a chair.
Sit up straight in the chair. Kick back your left foot but keep your toes on the floor. Lift your right foot off the floor while keeping your knee bent. Hold your right leg in the air for five seconds. Slowly lower your foot to the ground. Repeat this 10 times. Then rest and do another 10 after which you should switch legs. If this is too hard use your hands to help raise your leg.
This will help strengthen the inside of your legs to give support to your knee. Lie on your back with both knees bent. Put a pillow between your knees.
Squeeze your knees together, squishing the pillow between them. Hold this for five seconds then relax. Repeat the set 10 times. Rest, then do another set of 10.
If this is too hard you can do this exercise while seated.
Hold the back of a chair for support. Stand straight and tall. Lift your heels off the ground and rise up on the toes of both feet. Hold it there for five seconds. Slowly lower both heels to the ground. Repeat this 10 times then rest and do another 10.
If this is too hard do the same exercise while sitting in a chair.
Side Leg Raise
Hold the back of a chair for balance. Place your body’s weight on your left leg. Lift the right leg outwards to the side. Keep your right leg straight. Keep your outer leg muscles tensed. Try not to slouch. Lower your right leg and relax. Repeat this 10 times. Rest. Do another 10 sets, then repeat it with your left leg.
If this is too hard increase the leg height over time. Following a few workouts, you’ll be able to raise your leg higher.
Sit to Stand
Practice this move in order to make standing easier. Put two pillows on a chair. Sit on top of them, with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. While using your leg muscles, slowly and smoothly stand up tall. Then, slowly lower yourself back down to a sitting position. Make sure your bent knees don’t move in front of your toes. Try this also with arms crossed or loose to your side.
If this is too hard add pillows or use a chair with armrests and then help push up with your arms.
One Leg Balance
Try doing this hands-free or steady yourself on a chair, if necessary. Now, shift your body weight to one leg but don’t lock your knee straight. Then slowly raise the other foot off the ground, balancing on your standing leg. Hold that for 20 seconds then lower your raised foot to the ground. Do this twice, then switch legs. This move helps you when getting out of cars or bending.
If you find this too easy, balance for a longer time. Or do it with your eyes closed.
This move can help you strengthen your legs for stair climbing. Face a stable step with both feet on the ground. First, step up with your left foot then follow with your right foot. Now, stand on top, tall and while both feet are flat. Climb down in the reverse order: Right foot down first, then left. Do this 10 times then rest and repeat another 10 times. Now do it starting with your right leg first. If this is too hard try using a railing, wall, a lower step or lamppost for balance.
If you have stiff or sore knees you may not think that walking is a great idea but it actually is one of the best exercises for knee arthritis. Not only can it reduce joint pain but it can also strengthen your leg muscles and improve flexibility. It’s also good for your heart and the best part is that there are no gym membership fees needed.
Having a good form is key: Look forward, keep your arms and legs moving, relaxed and walk tall.
Losing weight is a side benefit of being active and exercising. It also takes pressure off your joints. Other exercises that are easy on the knees are swimming, biking and water aerobics. Water exercise can take weight off painful joints.
It isn’t necessary to give up your favorite activities, like golf. Discuss with your doctor or physical therapist about modifying painful moves.
How Much Exercise?
Start with just a little. If there is no pain, do more next time. Try to aim for 30 minutes a day.
In the course of time you’ll build your leg muscles which will support your knee and increase flexibility.
It is normal to have some muscle soreness but hurting or swollen joints should have rest. Take a break and ask your doctor for advice. Ice painful joints and take ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen as a pain reliever.
Using physical therapy solutions and products is also an effective way to strengthen leg muscles which can alleviate osteoarthritis pain. The LEGTUTOR is one such device that can be used.
The LEGTUTOR system is a key component of physical therapy used after total knee or hip replacement and other knee and hip surgery. The LEGTUTOR is an ergonomic wearable leg brace with dedicated rehabilitation software. The LEGTUTOR rehabilitation concept is based on performing controlled exercise rehabilitation practice at a patient customized level with real time accurate feedback on the patient’s performance. This means that the LEGTUTOR system allows the physical therapist to prescribe a leg rehabilitation program customized to the patient’s knee and hip movement ability at their stage of rehabilitation. The LEGTUTOR uses biofeedback to keep the patient motivated to do the exercise practice with those that were designed in the form of challenging games. They are suitable for a wide variety of other neurological and orthopedic injuries and diseases as well as post trauma and orthopedic surgery.
The LEGTUTOR is also used by physical and occupational therapists in combination with the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR and 3DTUTOR for upper and lower extremity rehabilitation. The TUTOR system is used by many leading rehabilitation centers worldwide and has full FDA and CE certification. It is designed for children and adults and can be used at home supported by telerehabilitation. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.