The symptoms of knee osteoarthritis can cause functional limitations, thus affecting your quality of life. With persistent knee pain, you may find it difficult to do daily tasks or even move around your home. Stiffness, a grinding feeling between your joints, and instability when walking are also common. You want to start moving around to stay active, but you are unsure if physical activity can cause more pain and damage your knees.
Believe it or not, staying active significantly decreases the risk of knee replacement surgery. It is an effective non-surgical, non-drug treatment for reducing knee pain while improving movement.
Let’s talk about six ways to help you stay active with knee osteoarthritis and where you can go in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for effective knee osteoarthritis treatment.
1. Resistance Training
You lose around 3–8% of your muscle mass yearly once you’re over 40. Your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments all work together. If one part of your musculoskeletal system is weak, it can affect other regions, too, thus worsening the pain around your knees.
Your orthopedic doctor and physical therapist can guide you through an exercise program with resistance training. Improving muscle strength enables the muscles to support and protect your knee joints affected by osteoarthritis. It also reduces additional strain on the arthritic joint by helping bone and tendon health and weight loss.
Focus on strengthening your quadriceps (front of your thigh) to support your knees better. A 15-minute session is enough to help you stay active and reduce knee pain.
Running or brisk walking is a healthy way to manage the symptoms of your knee osteoarthritis. Before putting on your running shoes, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider for a safe experience.
Take it slow and listen to your body. Note your baseline pain and pay close attention when running. Make sure that the pain in your knee area isn’t increasing. If the pain worsens, stop running and rest until your knee feels better. If you feel new or concerning pain, always consult your doctor.
Pay attention to your form and footwear. You can ask your doctor or therapist for advice. Likewise, a flat-soled shoe is ideal for minimizing the pain in your knees. Make sure you’re also running on a flat surface.
If you cannot endure running, walking is easier on your joints. It also improves circulation and tones muscles.
3. Flexibility Exercises
Stretching and flexibility exercises focusing on your knees can help improve your range of motion and flexibility. You can start your mornings with simple stretching exercises to make it a daily habit.
A few stretching and flexibility exercises include:
- Mini squats
- Quad stretch
- Standing back leg slide
- Hamstring stretch
- Simple knee strengtheners with a resistance band
You may consult with your doctor for a personalized treatment program.
4. Aquatic Exercises
These exercises are a good start for beginners. You perform these while standing in shoulder-height water.
Aquatic exercises are great for knee osteoarthritis because the water helps relieve the strain of your weight on the knee. It also provides resistance to strengthen muscles and support joints. The impact of stepping on the pool floor is significantly less than stepping on the ground. You can work your whole body in multiple directions.
One consideration for water exercises is conducting your activities in warmer temperatures than in regular pools. The temperature difference is for low-intensity movements and is more soothing for your joints.
Aquatic exercises to get you started include water walking, sidestepping, hip kickers, squat jumps, and simple jumping jacks.
5. Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises help strengthen the heart and lungs. These exercises build stamina, reduce fatigue, improve muscular endurance, and contribute to weight loss. There are different aerobic exercises you can choose from to jump-start your active lifestyle.
You can start by making walking a habit. Walking is a low-impact activity that you can do outside or at home with a treadmill. Cycling is also great for knee osteoarthritis. You can bike outside, use a stationary bike, or join simple spinning classes. Low-intensity biking will not agitate your knees.
Make sure the aerobic exercises fit your level of ability to avoid triggering pain.
6. Movement Therapies
Movement therapy can help reduce stress and knee pain and improve mobility. Ensure you make gentle movements and that your instructor knows your affected joints.
Popular movement therapies for knee osteoarthritis are tai chi and yoga. These involve gentle motions with combined stretching and deep breathing. They also promote a mind-body connection, allowing you to pinpoint pain and find relaxation.
Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Dr. Paul Meli is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with 30 years of experience. He can help relieve your joint pain and restore your range of motion using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques.
To learn more about knee osteoarthritis and its treatments, call Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery today at (954) 324-7711. You may also book a consultation through our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you.