Does Exercise Make Knee Arthritis Worse?

If you have received a recent diagnosis of osteoarthritis, it is imperative that you change your workout plan to shift to your new normal. This does not mean that you need to stop your exercise regime, just update it. One needs to start exercising in the right way so that you do not worsen your pain.

Getting the right treatment like physiotherapy for knee pain alongside your exercise can help make this transition easier. Exercise is actually encouraged because if you perform them the right way, exercise can even be part of your treatment plan as it decreases the painful symptoms of arthritis.

How Does Exercise Help My Knee Pain?

Exercise is a great addition to your treatment plan if you have been recently diagnosed with arthritis. Your doctor or PT may recommend some physiotherapy exercises for knee pain that can help- 

  • Balancing your hormones
  • Lowering blood sugar and blood pressure 
  • Improves cartilage strength 
  • Strengthens muscles 
  • Helps your joints and muscles to carry your body weight better and help relieves some of those achy muscle and joint pains

What Exercises Are Bad for Arthritic Knees?

If you have just started exercising, it is extremely normal to feel some kind of muscle soreness for about 24-48 hours after the exercise, and it is recommended that you take regular rest days in between so as to not agitate the muscles. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis recently, it is best to seek help related exercises from a licensed professional or seek physiotherapy for knee pain where an expert physiotherapist will recommend physiotherapy exercises for knee pain designed especially for arthritis patients. There are some exercises that can be bad for your knee pain, so here are some ways you can correct them!

Also Read: Knee Stiffness – Causes, Treatment and Exercises

How to Get Better at Squatting?

Squatting is an excellent exercise that helps the entire body! It can lead to better core strength, build leg and hip strength, lead to stronger joints and a smooth range of motion. If you have minimal joint pain, then it is okay to include squats in your usual routine.

What to avoid
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, then instead of doing a normal squat, a wall squat is better as it reduces the risk of putting extra pressure on your knees.

How to do it right 
To perform a squat for arthritis patients to help with their knee pain, then follow these steps- 

Lunging might seem daunting and intimidating for arthritis patients and it might have the same risks as squatting if you do not correct your movement and stance.

  • First stand and align your back against the wall, with feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Your feet should be about 15-18 inches away from the wall
  • A very important step is to make sure that your knee is aligned with the heels and not out crossing your toes. 
  • Control your breathing, while performing a squat, breathe in as you bent, and exhale as you come up. 
  • Make sure that your buttocks don’t drop anywhere below the knee level. Always the knee over the ankle and not the ball of the foot. 
  • Immediately stop if you start feeling pain, give it a rest and then start again the next day.

How to Getting Better at Lunges?

What to avoid
If lunges are practiced incorrectly it might lead to unnecessary pain in the future. Do not let your knee extend past your ankle. Do not try doing it without assistance in the initial stages. Instead, take the assistance of a chair or table for added support.

How to do it right
This is how to do a lunge right- 

  • Start by grabbing on to a chair or table for support 
  • Now, step forward with one leg and make sure that the knee is above the ankle and should never extend past it. 
  • Slowly lift the heel off of the floor once you are in a stable position. 
  • Form a straight line with your knee to your hip
  • Then engage your core and pull in your abs to help keep your back straight. It iis important to hold this position as any type of slouching will put unnecessary pressure on your knees. 
  • If you feel any sort of pain and discomfort while performing this exercise, immediately stop and rest before you continue the next day.

How to Getting Better at Running?

Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise that can help increase your heart rate, help you in maintaining a healthy weight and reduce the amount of stress in the knees.

What to avoid
Using any form of sneakers for running is going to do more harm than good. Instead select sturdy, supportive shoes and try running on dirt, grass, gravel or asphalt as they are softer than running on concrete surfaces. Do not run if you feel any sort of pain and consult your doctor before deciding on any fitness plan. You should not start running if it is not included in your treatment plan. If you are taking physiotherapy for knee pain, consult with your PT if it is okay to include running in your daily routine.

How to do it right? 
This is how to run right- 

  • Get right, comfortable shoes with padding. 
  • Start with shorter lengths of running and then increase your periods. 
  • A warm up before running is a must. There are many physiotherapy exercises for knee pain that you must perform before running.
  • Stretching after running is stringly advised to help prevent any soreness later on.

Lifestyle Changes and Tips for Knee Arthritis

To help incorporate a more holistic treatment plan in your daily routine, here are some tips that can help you minimize the painful symptoms- 

  • Do not include high impact jumping or sports in your daily routine, instead space it out and include them every alternate day. 
  • Wear a knee brace during practice to help keep your knee in proper position. 
  • Ask your doctor for pain medications if the pain becomes interfering at some points. 
  • Always consult your physiotherapist or doctor before you make a decision to include workouts and running in your routine. Physiotherapy for knee pain can be beneficial as it helps curate treatment programs made just for you and your lifestyle. 
  • While running or walking up the stairs is a great exercise, there are some caveats to it. Take your time, and adopt a slow and steady approach. Use the railing for support as and when needed. If actual stairs are too intense, use a stepping machine. Start with a shorter workout and then work your way upwards. 
  • When it comes to your daily routine, it is advised that high impact exercises should be done in moderation or left totally out. This is because as we age our articular cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber, slowly start wearing down. This ads to unnecessary friction, joint pain and swelling. It is unable to take the eight of your body on the joints during jumping and running.

Are There Exercises That Are Good for My Arthritis?

Indeed there are some exercises that are great, easy and safe to perform if you have been recently diagnosed with arthritis. These are- 

  • Water aerobics 
  • Cycling 
  • Pilates 
  • Weight Training 
  • Walking 

Also Read: Benefits of Physiotherapy for Knee Pain

For more information about knee arthritis and physiotherapy for knee pain, head on to Phyt Health, India’s first digital physiotherapy platform offering online physiotherapy services and consultations. With a wealth of knee exercises present on their website, you can include them in your daily life depending on your comfort level. All these exercises are curated by expert physiotherapists at Phyt Health. You can also book your online video consultation on the app, to discuss any issues you might be facing and begin your journey towards recovery!