Image-guided injections of viscosupplementation go a long way to relieve knee arthritis pain and stiff joints, but they are even more effective if coupled with exercises that strengthen the muscles in the knee.
Strong muscles not only support the weak joint and make the knee more stable, but they also help to absorb the stress placed on the knee joint when walking. The hips, quadriceps, and leg muscles play a crucial role in providing this support and stability.
Additionally, well-developed muscles in the ankles also contribute to overall joint strength and balance during various physical activities. Regular exercise and strength training can enhance the function of these muscle groups, reducing the risk of knee injuries and promoting better overall joint health.
Exercise can also reduce the swelling and stiffness associated with knee arthritis, keeping the knee mobile and flexible.
Start slowly with the easy exercises below. Begin with three repetitions of each exercise every day, and when you’re comfortable with three, increase to four repetitions, and so on, until you reach ten.
If your arthritis has kept you immobile for a while and three repetitions of each exercise are too much, then scale back to two, or even one, to begin with. It’s not a competition, go at your own pace. The important thing is to make a start and commit to exercising every day.
The following six easy exercises for knee arthritis are courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation. You only need a sturdy, straight-backed chair and a belt or resistance band.
- Stand tall with both hands resting on the back of a chair for balance and support.
- Position your feet flat on the floor, maintaining a shoulder-width distance between them.
- Gradually bend your knees, lowering your body a few inches as if you are about to sit down on an imaginary chair. Ensure your back remains straight, and your chest is lifted. Keep your knees aligned with your feet, avoiding overextension beyond your toes.
- Slowly count to five as you hold the lowered position. Focus on maintaining stability and engaging your core muscles for support.
- Tighten your glutes (buttocks) and use the strength of your legs to straighten up back to the starting position. Keep a slight bend in your knees at the top to keep tension in the muscles.
- Repeat the exercise for a set number of repetitions, such as 8-10, based on your fitness level. Take short breaks between sets to allow your muscles to recover.
This knee exercise offers significant benefits for knee health. Regularly doing this simple yet effective movement strengthens the quadriceps muscles in the thighs, which is crucial for stabilizing the knee joint.
It also improves core strength, reducing knee stress during weight-bearing activities. Gentle and low-impact, it suits those with knee conditions or recovering from injuries. The exercise enhances joint flexibility, lubrication, and blood circulation, reducing stiffness, inflammation, and potential knee degeneration.
Incorporating it into your fitness routine aids in weight management, lessening knee pressure and risks. Knee bends are a practical and accessible way to support knee health and joint function. Remember to consult a healthcare professional for specific concerns.
Back Leg Stretch
- Stand sideways to the chair with feet shoulder-width apart, using one hand for balance.
- Bend your knees and step one foot backward while keeping both feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your buttocks on the extended leg side, feeling a gentle stretch from calf to hip.
- Hold the stretch for a slow count to ten, promoting muscle flexibility and blood circulation.
- Gradually return to the starting position, maintaining stability and engaging core muscles.
- Repeat with the other leg to ensure balanced stretching and strengthening.
Always be mindful of your body’s limits and stop immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort. If you have any pre-existing knee conditions or concerns, consulting our healthcare professionals beforehand is recommended to ensure the exercise suits your needs.
Back Leg Slide
- Stand tall with feet together and hands placed firmly on the back of a chair for stability.
- Ensure your feet are flat on the floor, forming a solid foundation for the exercise. This position helps maintain balance and control throughout the movement.
- Slide one foot backward, keeping the toes touching the floor, and engage your glutes by tightening your buttocks. This action targets the muscles in your buttocks and thighs, promoting strength and stability.
- Hold the foot in the slid-back position and count slowly to five. This deliberate counting allows you to concentrate on the muscles’ engagement and helps prevent rushed movements.
- Gently return the foot to the starting position beside the other foot. This completes one repetition for that leg.
- Now, repeat the entire sequence with the other leg. Slide the opposite foot back, ensuring the toes remain on the floor, and tighten your glutes. Hold for a slow count to five before bringing the foot back to the starting position.
- Continue this exercise, alternating between legs, to promote balanced muscle development and overall lower body strength.
This exercise significantly benefits knee health by strengthening the muscles around the knee joint, particularly the quadriceps in the thighs. It improves joint flexibility, reduces stiffness, and encourages proper knee alignment.
Knee Flex: Move One
- Start by sitting on a chair and placing a belt or resistance band just above your ankles. This band will provide resistance during the exercise, targeting the leg muscles effectively.
- Keep one foot flat on the floor, and raise the other leg while maintaining a straight knee. The resistance band should be taut, engaging the muscles of the elevated leg.
- Hold the elevated leg in position and slowly count to five. This controlled movement allows for a focused and effective muscle engagement.
- Relax the leg and lower it back down to the starting position.
- Now, repeat the exercise with the other leg, raising it while keeping the knee straight and the resistance band taut.
- Continue alternating between legs to work both sides evenly, promoting balanced muscle development and overall lower body strength.
Performing this exercise with a resistance band can benefit both knee pain relief and strength. The movement engages the muscles surrounding the knee joint, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings. Strengthening these muscles is crucial for providing stability and support to the knee, which can help alleviate knee pain caused by muscle imbalances or weakness.
Knee Flex: Move Two
- Begin by staying seated on the chair, ensuring the belt or resistance band is securely positioned around your ankles. Keep both feet flat on the floor, maintaining a stable base for the exercise.
- Slide one foot backward, moving it underneath the chair while keeping the resistance band taut. As you do this, engage the muscles in your leg to control the movement.
- While the foot is at the back position, hold the stretch for a slow count to five. This deliberate counting allows for a focused and effective muscle engagement, enhancing the benefits of the exercise.
- Gradually bring the foot forward to the original position beside the other foot. This completes one repetition for that leg.
- Now, repeat the entire sequence with the other leg, sliding it back under the chair while keeping the resistance band taut.
- Continue alternating between legs, performing the exercise with controlled movements. This helps evenly target both sides, promoting balanced muscle development and lower body strength.
The resistance band adds an element of challenge to the leg movement, contributing to improved knee strength and stability. It engages the muscles surrounding the knee joint, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings, which are essential for providing support and reducing knee pain caused by muscle imbalances or weakness.
The exercise also aids in improving knee flexibility, as the movement requires the leg to move in a controlled manner, stretching the muscles around the knee joint and promoting joint mobility. Regularly incorporating this exercise into your routine can be beneficial for maintaining knee health and potentially reducing knee pain caused by muscle weaknesses or stiffness.
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet together and firmly planted flat on the floor. This starting position ensures stability during the exercise.
- Keeping your knees together, extend one leg forward, placing your heel on the ground, and pointing your toes up. This movement stretches the muscles in the back of your thigh, preparing them for the exercise.
- Maintain a straight back and gently lean forward until you feel a noticeable stretch in the back of your thigh. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements, instead, engage in a controlled and gradual stretch.
- Hold the stretched position for a slow count to ten. This allows the muscles to relax and elongate, maximizing the benefits of the stretch.
- Gradually return the outstretched leg to the original position beside the other leg. This completes one repetition for that leg.
- Now, repeat the entire sequence with the other leg, extending it forward with the heel on the ground and toes pointed up.
- Continue alternating between legs to work both sides evenly, promoting balanced muscle development and flexibility.
While seated on the chair, this exercise stretches the hamstrings by extending one leg forward. It promotes flexibility in the back of the thigh, which can help alleviate knee pain and prevent muscle strains. Additionally, the exercise strengthens the knees, providing better support and stability to the joint. Regular practice can lead to improved knee health and overall lower body strength.
Something to Think About
You can proactively avoid surgery for arthritic knees by contacting one of the specialized Arthritis Knee Pain Centers. Our medical practices offer precision-guided injections, which can be an effective non-surgical option for managing knee pain caused by arthritis.
Additionally, incorporating six simple and recommended exercises from the Arthritis Foundation into your routine can further support knee health and mobility.
Furthermore, one of the most significant steps you can take to relieve knee arthritis pain is to focus on weight management. Losing excess body weight plays a crucial role in reducing stress on the knee joint.
It’s important to note that each additional pound of body weight exerts four pounds of extra pressure on the knee joint. Shedding just ten pounds can alleviate up to forty pounds of pressure on an arthritic knee, significantly reducing discomfort and improving joint mobility.
One Last Thought
Keep in mind that the positive effects of image-guided viscosupplementation injections, which are likely to be felt almost immediately, provide relief for your knee pain. However, it’s essential to remember that exercise and weight loss may take some time to show significant results.
If you ever feel discouraged or lose motivation along the way, take inspiration from the words of wellness expert Greg Anderson, who reminds us to focus on the journey, not just the end goal. Joy is found in the process of doing an activity, not solely in completing it.
It’s worth noting that Medicare and most insurance plans cover image-guided fluoroscopy injections of viscosupplementation, making this beneficial treatment option more accessible to many individuals.
Schedule your free screening and consult with our amazing team of experts in knee pain to explore more options and determine the best course of action for managing your knee pain.