If you are living with arthritis in one or both knees, you may be searching for techniques to help manage your symptoms. Having arthritis can make everyday activities painful. It can also cause stiffness, making it hard to climb stairs, get in and out of a chair and walk. There are many forms of arthritis and each person is affected differently. This means you may need to try a combination of techniques and approaches to help manage your unique situation. However, there are things you can do to still stay active even with knee arthritis.
Lose weight. Whether you are overweight or just carrying a few extra pounds, the less you weigh, the less stress there is on the knee joint. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that “Simple weight loss can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the knee. Losing weight can result in reduced pain and increased function, particularly in walking.” In addition, the Arthritis Foundation claims that “Shedding just 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half, according to a recent study presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting.” Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is the best way to help you shed extra pounds. This includes activities such as walking, biking, swimming and dancing. You need at least 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three to five days per week for successful weight loss. This time can be broken up into shorter segments throughout the day if necessary.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is an important component of managing knee arthritis. Stretching and flexibility exercises will help to keep your knee joint lose and will reduce stiffness. Lower-body strength-training exercises will help to make your leg and hip muscles stronger, which in turn will take pressure off your knee joint. This can include movements like squats, lunges, hamstring curls or quadriceps extensions. The National Institute on Aging suggests that exercise helps because “Strong muscles support and protect your joints.” If exercising on land is too painful, try water exercise. You can get a great workout without putting pressure on your knees. It is important to remember that if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you want to skip exercise on days when you are having a flareup.
Use assistive devices and supports. Using a cane, crutch or brace may also help your knee arthritis. If you have arthritis in just one knee, use the cane or crutch in the opposite hand. Using the cane in the same hand as the affected knee will make you lean on the affected side too heavily. By placing the cane in the opposite hand, you can lean away from the painful knee to make walking more comfortable. In addition, talk with you doctor or physical therapist about what type of brace would be best to use in your situation. A brace can help your knee to maintain proper alignment, which will help to reduce your symptoms.
Talk to your doctor about arthritis medication. There are various medications that can help you to manage your knee arthritis. However, lifestyle changes like the ones listed above are still necessary. According to the the National Institutes of Health “making lifestyle changes without medications is preferable for osteoarthritis and other forms of joint inflammation. If needed, medications should be used in addition to lifestyle changes.” The right type of medication depends on the type of arthritis you have, other medical conditions you are being treated for and the type of symptoms you have. Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and muscle relaxants are all examples of medications that you and your doctor can talk about. In addition to medication, the use of hot and cold therapy may also help.
Consider surgery. In cases where your knee arthritis is causing severe symptoms or greatly affecting your everyday life, you may need surgery to alleviate your symptoms. There are many types of knee surgery including total knee replacement options. You and your doctor will need to discuss when surgery is necessary and what procedure is best for you.
Stop any exercise or activity that makes your symptoms worse. Discuss any changes in symptoms with your doctor, as the earlier treatment is started the better your chances of minimizing symptoms.
It may take a period of trial and error to find the right approach for you. Arthritis affects each person differently and everyone responds to treatment differently as well. Make sure you have your knee pain evaluated by a professional. There are many conditions besides arthritis that can cause knee pain.
Note – This information has been taken from different internet sources.