According to Medicine.net, almost 40 million U.S. citizens are affected by some form of arthritis. And while all arthritis has the potential to cause a significant amount of discomfort, perhaps none is as debilitating as that which affects the knee. Let's take a moment to discuss the effects of arthritis as well as 8 exercises that you can do to help this condition.
Effects of Knee Arthritis
Those who experience osteoarthritis of the knee will notice several different effects. However, some are much more intrusive than others. For instance, some sufferers may find that their knees buckle and even lock. As your knee muscles begin to weaken, the joint structure becomes unstable. And this subsequently causes them to buckle. In certain instances, the joint can lock up and you won't be able to straighten it out or bend it.
Another effect of this condition is a grinding sensation as the knees move. The sufferer may hear pops and cracks. This is often caused by a lack of smooth cartilage; without it, there is nothing there to keep your range of motion smooth.
Some extreme case may result in deformity. As the condition progresses, the sufferer may notice slight changes in the appearance of the knee.In fact, many describe it as a "sunken" look as the muscles that surround the knees start to thin and weaken. This is when you may notice that the knees are pointing toward each other or perhaps even bending outward.
8 Easy Exercises for Knee Arthritis
These experiences often lead many to their doctor or physiatrist. They assume that they should be prescribed medicine. However, what many don't realize is that this condition can sometimes be treated without having to take medicine. Exercise can make all of the difference in the world. Let's take a look at a few exercises that are great for this condition.
1. Leg Lifts
If you have ever visited a physiotherapist, then you have likely seen someone doing leg lifts. They're known to improve stability and strength. Simply stand with your back against a wall, raise your leg while keeping your toe pointed to the floor and then lower it. This exercise can be repeated 10-20 times on both each of your legs.
The calf stretch can improve flexibility in the joints. Place your left foot a couple of feet in front of the right foot. Bend the left leg, keeping the right leg straight, and then press the heel of your right foot towards the door so that your calf stretches. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
3. Leg Raise
Leg raises can strengthen your quadriceps, which are attached to the joints in your knee. Lie on your back with your arms positioned at your sides and toes pointed up.
Slowly lift your leg, holding it straight, several inches. And push your back down by tightening your stomach muscles. Hold this to the count of time and then slowly lower your leg. You can then switch legs. This can be done in sets of four.
4. Half Squat
Include half squats in your physiotherapy routine. They help to strengthen the front and backs of your thighs. Position your feel a shoulder-distance apart, stretch out your arms directly in front of you, and bend the knees until you feel like you are almost in a seated position. Hold this position for a few seconds, stand back up and repeat. This can be repeated up to 10 times in sets of three.
5. Quadriceps Stretch
This exercise improves flexibility and range of motion. Lie down on your stomach, place your left forearm in front of you for a little support, bend your gith knee and then grab your ankle with your right hand. Lift your knee off of the floor until you feel a small stretch and hold for a couple of seconds and then switch sides. This can be repeated several times.
6. Leg Cross
Another great physiotherapy exercise for your knee is the leg cross. It can help with the range of motion and strengthen the muscles that surround your knee. Start in a seated position, with your legs stretched out in front of you. Cross your ankles over the other while simultaneously contracting your thighs, hold for 15-30 seconds and then switch sides.
Kick-back can help to strengthen reduce the stiffness. Stand up as straight as you can, lift your foot off of the floor while bending your knee, bring the heel of your foot toward your buttocks, hold it for a few seconds and then lower it back to the floor. This can be repeated 10-20 times, and a few times throughout the day.
Step Ups can strengthen the leg. This one requires an exercise step. So stand in front of your step with both feet a hip's width apart. Step onto the exercise step with the right foot and then with the left. You should then step down in reverse. Continue alternating for 30 seconds. This can be done 10 times every day.
The next time you visit your physiatrist or physiotherapist, ask them for tips on knee arthritis exercises. While certain forms of this condition may require more invasive treatment, there are times in which life changes can reverse the condition. They is to find the exercises which work best for you.