Phone Icon
Phone Number
Search Icon

How to stay active with knee osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis

Our body is constantly repairing the daily wear and tear on our joints; however, osteoarthritis develops when the body can’t maintain this repair process. Knee osteoarthritis is the most common form of osteoarthritis affecting 50% of people aged 65. Whilst most experience relatively mild symptoms, for one in ten knee pain and joint stiffness become debilitating.  The first change is usually cartilage damage, which increases over time, eventually causing the underlying bony surface to become exposed with growths on the edges of the joint, visible by x-ray. Symptoms are often worse on waking up in the morning, after over-activity, as well as sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time. As the tissues around the joints become inflamed and painful, the simplest of actions like climbing stairs or bending to tie a shoe-lace can suddenly seem very difficult. Naturally, this has a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life.

Various elements can predispose a person to developing osteoarthritis and increase the rate of degeneration after the initial onset. Nevertheless, in almost all cases staying active is critically important and can even slow the rate of degeneration. Here are five quick tips on staying active with osteoarthritis.

           

 1. Maintain a normal body weight
Being overweight can increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis by up to four or five times that of a person with normal body weight due to the extra pressure being placed on your joints and cartilage.   This is particularly the case with knee osteoarthritis because we are estimated to carry a force of three to six times our body weight across our knees when walking. To a lesser extent, osteoarthritis of the hips is also influenced by body weight, since the hips carry up to three times the body’s weight during walking or standing. It is thereforehighly recommended to maintain health body weight to reduce the pressure acting on your joints.

 

2. Exercise regularly and keep your muscles strong

Doctors believe that a precursor to the onset of osteoarthritis symptoms is a weakness in the quadriceps. Strength training can be valuable, together with exercise or physiotherapy that enables you to work on a specific muscle area. Controlled exercise can keep the body strong, whilst helping symptom relief like pain and joint stiffness by ensuring the affected joint stays active. In particular exercises like swimming, walking and cycling are recommended.

3. Avoid causing damage to joints

For people who already suffer from osteoarthritis, activity is often associated with pain, or the risk of further damage to the joints. The trick is to avoid excessive exercise which can lead to injury or overuse. This also extends to lifting heavy things or activities which require repeated joint strain for long periods. Equally when trying to move heavy objects, an excellent tip is to remember to always push rather than pull them where possible, to avoid the type of movement that can cause damage to the joints.

4. Continue with your hobbies
Osteoarthritis can often make the simplest of activities seem impossible. You may have to modify the activities you love, or reduce the amount of time you spend on them. However, it is very important to find a way to maintain the hobbies that keep you active. No matter what your hobby is make the most of any available tools, for example use garden tools, kitchen devices, canes or other types of support to protect your joint and enable you to maintain as much as possible your full range of motion. If you really find you can no longer pursue your hobby of choice, always be sure to replace it with another hobby that is more suited to your current abilities but can still keep you active.

5. Find the right balance for you
Don’t fall into a sedentary lifestyle because of pain, but equally don’t force yourself to the point where you are fighting pain with every movement. Sometimes RICE is necessary after overuse of the joints to reduce pain or stiffness; however for a healthy mental outlook and long-term improved joint functioning in the knees and hips, it is crucial to maintain regular, gentle activity and not lose confidence in moving. 

  1. Exercise regularly and keep your muscles strong.
    Doctors believe that a precursor to the onset of osteoarthritis symptoms is a weakness in the quadriceps. Strength training can be valuable, together with exercise or physiotherapy that enables you to work on a specific muscle area. Controlled exercise can keep the body strong, whilst helping symptom relief like pain and joint stiffness by ensuring the affected joint stays active. In particular exercises like swimming, walking and cycling are recommended.
Print     Email     Share it

Watch AposTherapy in action