Accelerate Physical Therapy

Exercises to Help Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

Many people suffer with osteoarthritis of the knee, or OA as it’s commonly referred to in the medical field. In fact, it is one of the most prevalent causes of disability for aging generations.

Knee osteoarthritis is a painful condition that negatively impacts the knee, often as a result of previous trauma, either through injury or a bad infection. It occurs when the cartilage located in the knee joint starts to deteriorate and leads to bone rubbing on bone. At times the pain is so intense that it disrupts a person’s daily activities, if not lay them up completely for a while.

Unfortunately, there is no actual cure for osteoarthritis. However, it can often be “managed” to a reasonable degree through appropriate exercise. As with any injury or ailment, it’s best to consult a physician or physical therapist before beginning an exercise routine.

For now, take a look at the following 4 exercises, to give you an idea of what the professionals might recommend for your particular condition…

1. Leg Presses while Seated

This intense form of exercise should be performed as tolerated, which could fluctuate depending on various reasons, such as conditioning, other physical activity, or even the weather. This is done with a leg press machine, found at most physical therapy centers or gyms. So, while it’s a great exercise, you usually have to leave the home to do it. Here is what to expect, if your trainer or physical therapist has you do seated leg presses:

  • Sit on the leg press seat
  • Adjust this seat to make sure your legs are able to bend at a 90° angle
  • Rest both feet on the bottom platform
  • Keeping your back straight, grab the handles
  • Slowly raise your legs upward until they are fully extended
  • Lower your legs back down, slowly

Your physical therapist can tell you how many repetitions to perform. But, it could be as many reps as you can do in an allotted amount of time, such as 30 seconds. If you aren’t experiencing pain, resistance can be added to the machine. However, ask your trainer or physical therapist how much you should add, to avoid injury.

2. Calf Stretch while Standing

Another popular choice, and easy exercise to perform, is to stretch the calf while standing. It will help improve flexibility in the muscle that crosses the back of the knee, and can be done anywhere, any time:

  • Stand and face a wall
  • Place your hands on the wall, at shoulder height
  • Extend one leg behind you, with the other forward and slightly bent
  • Place the heal of the back leg on the floor
  • Press the back leg down, until you feel a comfortable stretch for about 30 seconds

When done, switch and repeat with the other leg. This is often done in sets of 3 repetitions.

3. Prone Quadriceps Stretch

This next one is a prone stretch, which is performed while you are lying down, and can also be done at home…or, anywhere. Take a look:

  • Lie down on the floor, on your stomach
  • Bend one leg at the knee
  • Hold on to your ankle, or whichever part of the foot is comfortable
  • Pull your foot toward the buttocks
  • Hold for about 30 seconds

Repeat this process for about 3 repetitions, holding each for about 30 seconds. Next, switch legs and perform the entire process again.

4. “Riding” a Stationary Bike

Using a stationary bike offers a form of low-impact exercise. What this means is that you can exercise the joint, without any direct impact on it. And, while you might be able to ride a standard bike, you risk bumps, hills, and sudden stops, which you will not experience on a stationary bike.

Exercising on a stationary bike helps to keep the joints more flexible, strengthen your muscles, and reduce stiffness, all common factors with knee osteoarthritis.

In Conclusion

It’s important, when dealing with an injury or painful condition such as osteoarthritis, that you don’t create more pain for yourself with further injury. So, as with all exercises, the above should be done after consulting with your physician or therapist.