Today, we have shared exercises for arthritis in the knees to ease your knee pain and provide you with relief. Arthritis in the Knees is, unfortunately, very common. Arthritis is caused when the cartilage (tissue that protects the ends of bones) in the knee joint begins to wear down, causing the bones to rub against each other. This results in painful, inflamed knee joints. Knee arthritis can be caused by injuries, wear and tear over time, or a genetic predisposition. Traumatic injury to the knee is the most common cause of knee arthritis. It’s also common among people who have placed repetitive stress on their knee joints, like those who play sports that involve quick stops, pivoting, or jumping. It is also common in overweight individuals due to the excess weight placed on the knee joints.
If you have knee arthritis keeping your joints healthy is important. The sooner you start moving, stretching, and strengthening the joints, the easier it will be to continue doing the activities you enjoy. The key is truly to stay active. Many people with knee arthritis find that gentle exercises that strengthen the muscles around the joint can make a big difference. These exercises won’t make the pain go away. They will, however, help relieve tension and stress on the joints. Below are some simple exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joints.
5 Exercises for Arthritis in the Knees
1. Calf Raises
For this exercise, place one hand on a wall or the back of a chair for balance if needed.
Start with 1 set of 10 repetitions in a slow and controlled movement. Begin in an upright standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your head, shoulders, hips, and legs in alignment. Engage your core and raise your toes on both feet. Hold this position for a couple of seconds, then lower your heels to the starting position. Repeat the movement.
2. Calf Stretch
Begin in an upright standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, hips, and legs. Place both hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step back with one foot to stagger your stance and bend your front knee. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Step back to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side. Start with 1 set of 2 repetitions on each side, holding for 10 seconds.
3. Lying Leg Raise
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, relaxing your upper body. Relax your arms at your sides. Straighten one leg. Lift your straight leg off the ground and hold this position for 5 seconds. Relax, lower your leg to the starting position and repeat the movement. Start with 1 set of 5 repetitions on each side, holding for 5 seconds.
4. Hamstring Stretch
Begin in an upright sitting position with your legs shoulder-width apart, maintaining proper alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips. Straighten one leg and flex your foot. Hinge through your hips to bend your upper body forward. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side. Start with 1 set of 1 repetition on each side, holding for 20 seconds.
5. Pillow Knee Squeeze
Use a pillow, yoga block, or rolled-up towel for this exercise.
Begin in an upright sitting position with your legs shoulder-width apart, maintaining proper alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips. Place a pillow between your knees and squeeze your knees together. Hold this position for several deep belly breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Relax and repeat the movement. Start with 1 set of 5 repetitions, holding for 3 – 5 seconds.
Arthritis is degenerative and progressive. Though symptoms can be effectively managed, the process of degeneration cannot be reversed, so don’t let the discomfort of knee arthritis be an excuse for inactivity. The reality is that movement is therapeutic and staying active is key. Focus on gentle, low-impact exercises for arthritis in the knees that strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee joints and exercises that encourage joint mobility, like cycling or swimming.
Acupuncture may also provide some symptom relief when used as an add-on therapy. Although many patients offer anecdotal evidence that acupuncture has helped them, most studies have found that acupuncture offers minimal pain and stiffness relief for osteoarthritis.
We also recommend talking to your doctor about anti-inflammatory supplements or medications that might help. Also, check out our arthritis program to help ease your pain.