Science-based Exercises for Knee Osteo-arthritis – For Beginners
Are you diagnosed with Knee osteo-arthritis or worried about developing knee osteo-arthritis?
A lot of our patients share this concern so this article and video is developed to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of knee osteo-arthritis. It is a beginner exercise routine so anyone can start doing this.
Some effective acupuncture points can also be used to help promote circulation and improve the overall health of the knee.. Instead of using needles, you can use a TENS machine or an acu-pointer on these points. I will attach that video so you can use this in conjunction with this exercise program.
The scientific evidence says that in order to keep your knees healthy, you need an exercise program that targets movement, strength, flexibility and endurance in your hips, knees and ankles. As practicing Physiotherapists, we see this on a regular basis as proof that it work.And those who follow the program will notice a decrease in symptoms and improved function.
Beginner Level Exercises
This beginner program requires no special equipment with minimal stress to the knee joint.
None of these exercises should cause you pain so work on these to your comfort level. Muscle burning and fatigue is normal, and that is an indication that you need to stop and rest.
These exercises can be done every 2nd day to allow your body to recover from the exercises.
You may do each exercise for 10 repetitions, 2 sets each, to your comfort level. As you begin to feel the exercises getting easier, you may add a few more reps in each set.
Supine heel slides
First exercise is the heel slides to warm up and get the knee moving. Lying on your back, slide your heels towards your bum and then straighten your knee out again. If you have knee soreness and pain, this may give you some initial discomfort but should subside after a few reos. Do not force the knee movement past pain.
Straight Leg Raises
With the second exercise, lie on your back with the knee straight on the side you are working. The other knee can be kept bent to relax the back. Keeping your knee straight, lift the leg up as high as you can, to your comfort level. You will feel a tightening in the front of your thigh and a nice stretch on the back of your leg.
Knee Extension over roll
With the third exercise, you can use a foam roller or a couple of pillows and place it underneath your knees. Lying on your back, straighten your knees and hold for 3 seconds and slowly lower the leg back to the start position. You should feel a tightening in the front of your thighs when doing this exercise.
Bridges with heel push downs
Lying on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Tighten up your core by gently drawing your belly button downwards, push your feet down to the floor and lift your buttocks up. Your upper thigh should be straight with your body and you should feel a tension in your buttocks when doing this exercise. Slowly lower your hips down and repeat..
Prone Hamstring Curls
Lying on your stomach, tighten your core muscles and bring the heel towards your buttocks. Then slowly return to the start position with your knees extended. You should feel a tightening sensation in the back of your thighs, and possibly a stretching sensation in the front of the thigh as you bend the knees.
Lying on your side, with your knees and hips slightly bent. Keep your ankles together and bring the top knee away from the bottom knee. Make sure that you are only using your hips and not turning with your body. With this exercise, you will notice a tightening at the side and back of the hips. Slowly lower the knees and repeat.
Hip abduction Side Lying
Lying on your side with your legs straight, lift the top leg up towards the ceiling and then slowly return to the start position. You should lead with the outside of your foot at all times, and keep your hips pointed to the ceiling. With this exercise, you will feel a tightness on the outside part of the hip
The following stretches are done, holding 30 seconds, 3 times per day. Again, no pain should be experienced when doing these.
In standing, bend your knee by grabbing your foot and bringing your heels towards your buttocks. You may extend your hips to get a greater stretch in front of your thighs.
When sitting, keep one leg straight and place the other foot on the side of your knee. Turn your body towards the straight knee and lean forward through your torso – bringing the belly button towards the thigh. You will feel a nice pull on the back of your thigh.
Lying on your back, bring one knee up towards your chest and across your body with your hands. You can vary the amount of knee bend to achieve a stretch in different parts of your buttocks.
To enhance the effect of exercises, check out our recommended acupuncture points to help with your knees here. Instead of needles, you can use a TENS device or an acu-pointer, a device that sends low electrical current onto acupuncture points in the body.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for upcoming releases of intermediate and advanced exercises for Knee osteo-arthritis.
If you have any questions, feel free to consult with one of our Physiotherapists at EastWest Physiotherapy in Burnaby.