In our previous blogs we have looked at how to get started exercising with arthritis, what type of exercise based on the grade of severity of your condition (grade 1 -4, 4 being the most severe) and now, we are focusing on essential exercise for the hip and knee. The hip and knee joint are the most common areas for OA to strike, simultaneously, they are also the best to rehabilitate. Your daily exercise for these joint can be both planned and incidental. It is however, important to know your limits. Discomfort is to be expected with exercise (it means you’re doing it right), but severe pain in the focal point of the joint isn’t.
Incidental exercise is simple. If you drive to work/home, park an extra block away and walk the distance, take the stairs not the lift. All the little bits add up and at the end of the month, equates to a huge amount.
Planned exercise can be any of the following three:
strength and resistance training e.g. weights at gym, squats, heel raises range of motion exercises e.g. flexing/extending, rotating the joint externally/internally aerobic or endurance exercises walking, swimming, cycling
It is important to be aware of your grade of arthritis (mild to severe). The more severe your arthritis, the less force you put through the joint.
Interestingly in a study comparing walking vs quadriceps strengthening both improved pain but none were superior with regards to results. Another key point that one study highlighted was the importance of exercise adherence, They found this can be enhanced by the use of supervised exercise sessions.
Few studies have evaluated the effects of exercise on structural disease progression and there is currently no evidence to show that exercise can be disease modifying, so don’t expect to be cured. Exercise does however play an important role in managing symptoms in those with hip and knee OA.