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Knee Arthritis and Exercises

A physical therapist can design an exercise program for knee arthritis patients.

Three types of knee arthritis commonly cause pain, joint swelling and movement difficulties. Knee osteoarthritis, the most common form, results when your joint cartilage gradually erodes. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that also destroys joint cartilage and generally affects both knees. Post-traumatic knee arthritis often develops following a knee injury. Non-surgical knee arthritis treatments include exercise modifications, such as a switch from jogging to walking or swimming, plus other physician-approved exercises.

Tai Chi

Increase your range of motion by regularly practicing tai chi routines. Tai chi was originally developed as a Chinese martial art but has been widely adopted for its smooth and fluid movements. Tai chi practice has been shown to decrease pain and function problems for patients with debilitating knee osteoarthritis. Tai chi also helps improve balance and decreases stress, the Arthritis Foundation states.

Strength Training

Strong upper leg muscles help support your body more efficiently and can positively impact your knee arthritis symptoms. Stronger leg muscles also combat age-related muscle deterioration and preserve bone strength. Work with a personal trainer to establish a weight training regimen that targets upper leg and thigh muscles. Follow the trainer’s guidelines for weight and repetition to avoid muscle overuse injuries.

Aquatic Exercise

Patients with many forms of arthritis receive benefits from the Arthritis Foundation’s well-known aquatic program. One-hour aquatic classes take place in heated indoor pools that are part of YMCA or community fitness facilities. Trained instructors conduct the classes, which are commonly held at least twice a week. Stretching and light aerobics exercises help improve flexibility and strengthen your muscles. Impact-free exercises also increase your endurance and may decrease discomfort.

Long-Term Outlook

You may experience long-term benefits by continuing physical therapy or exercise after completion of a formal supervised therapy program. In August 2010, “Arthritis Care & Research” reported results of a Dutch study conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research and the University Medical Center Utrecht. Researchers followed 150 knee and/or hip arthritis patients for five years. The team found that three months after formal therapy ended, almost 58 percent of patients continued with prescribed exercises. Patients with moderate or higher physical activity reported a corresponding pain decrease and better physical performance. Fifteen months after formal therapy ended, only 44 percent were continuing the exercise routines. After five years, only 30 percent of patients exercised despite the proven benefits.

Recommendations

Ask your doctor or physical therapist to design a program that improves your knee arthritis symptoms while minimizing your risks. Find a warm environment for your daily range of motion exercises. Schedule two or three strength training sessions each week, with at least one muscle recovery day between sessions. Aim for low- or non-impact aerobic exercise at least three times per week. Allow your body to determine your workout pace. Contact your physician or therapist if you notice extended post-workout pain, swelling or reduced range of motion.

 

Note – This information has been taken from different internet sources.


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