Osteoarthritis (O.A) of the knee can be a painful condition. Most often the medial side (inside) of the knee is affected. Osteoarthritis can also described as 'wear and tear' of the joint. It is something that is very common and knee arthritis can be easily managed with exercise. By moving the knee joint and strengthening the muscles around the knee you can improve the health of the joint and reduce pain.
We grade O.A changes from 1-4. Grade 1 are minor changes and grade 4 are more advanced changes. Although x-ray changes don't always correlate to patients symptoms, I have met people with grade 4 changes that have very little pain.
Some people with knee arthritis will have reduced range of movement at the knee, which will cause more pain. Pain and reduced movement will cause weakness of the knee. It is important to keep your knee joint as mobile as possible if you have knee arthritis, so keep moving it! It is just as important, if not more so, to maintain knee extension, so don't focus more on the bend. Make sure you work at straightening the knee too. You may need to see a physiotherapist to regain movement if you have lost a significant amount of movement. It is important you consider the whole lower limb from the pelvis down to ensure you get the best relief from an arthritic knee. One of the reasons your knee hurts might be because of a weakness around the hip and pelvis. Our rehabilitation workouts will help you get the best outcome to look after your knees and all of your other joints! These workouts will strengthen the whole lower limb chain of muscles as well as improving the flexibility of the lower limb joints.
Here are three quad strengthening exercises you can do at home to build the strength around the knee joint if you have arthritis. These exercises will reduce pain and improve your knee function. Repeat each exercise 10 times, hold each for 10 seconds, twice per day.
Static Quad - Tighten the thigh muscle, aim to keep the back of the knee close to the bed, also try to aim to lift the heel from the bed:
Inner Range Quad - Place a small rolled up towel under your knee. Lift the heel away from the bed:
Straight leg raise - Tighten the thigh muscle to lock the knee out. Then lift the leg approx 15 cm away from the bed:
If you find 10 second holds and 10 repetitions are too difficult, start with 5 second holds and 5 repetitions and build up to 10.
To improve your whole lower limb alignment and strength I suggest you strengthen from the core down. Working your core abdominal muscles, hip and pelvic muscles and lower limb muscles will improve the function of the whole lower limb and prevent symptoms worsening. Looking after your joints will help maintain the health of your joints. Even if you have arthritis it is important to exercise! Try our low impact rehabilitation workouts to build lower limb and core strength.