Unfortunately osteoarthritis, more often just called arthritis, is a painful and debilitating condition that often severely changes people's quality of life. Far too often, people allow painful knee arthritis to stop them from exercising all together. This can actually further exacerbate the disease as opposed to help minimize the pain.
While the pain experienced with arthritis makes it difficult to want to exercise, it is imperative to keep the rest of the body in shape which will in turn take the pressure off the knees. Remember that the less you move the more the disease will take over. It also can snowball into cardiac issues or problems with other joints, the longer the inactivity continues. Working joints that surround the area will help diminish the overall pain and help the knee joint function better.
By land or by pool
In the video below, there are a few exercises that are good for people suffering from knee arthritis. If you are experiencing severe knee arthritis, try to these exercises in the pool. This will help take the weight off of the knees but still allow you to strengthen. If you have access to a pool, even walking around can be enough exercise. Water adds resistance to the exercises so walking around in waist high or even chest high water will allow for the muscles to get stronger and keep the rest of the body in shape. You can add in the exercises to give you more of a workout.
If you prefer to stay dry on land, you can do these exercises either standing up or lying down. Standing up makes the exercise easier to perform, but it may be harder on the knees. Lying down will decrease the amount of pressure on the knees. You need to decide which level you are at. And do not be afraid to mix and match, meaning do one set in standing and one set lying down. Make sure you work to your comfort level, taking as much rest as you need to but also making it so you still feel a challenge.
The exercises that are shown in the video are four way hip exercises and a balance exercise.
It's all in the hips
The four way hip exercise is designed to work all of the muscles around the hip. The goal is to keep the knee as straight as possible when doing each of the four directions, whether you are on land or in the water. Doing these exercises with your leg straight will allow for increased work and demand to be placed on the muscles. However, if you find it too painful to keep the knee totally straight then you can keep it slightly bent.
Do 3 sets of 10 or 12 of each direction. Stick with the same direction until the sets are completed. You can switch legs, and do one set on one leg and one set on the other leg, but try to do all of the sets in one direction before moving to the next one.
A balancing act
The other exercise that is shown in the video is a balance exercise. Just simply stand on one foot and hold it as long as you can. When you can hold it longer than 30 seconds, then close your eyes. Once you have mastered this, make it more challenging by standing on a pillow.
Balance is an important thing to work on especially as we get older. People often do not realize how poor their balance is because most people believe it to be an inherent ability that they don't need to work on. No one is born with bad balance, but it takes practice to be good at it and it is important when you have a joint that is not functioning correctly that you do everything you can to train it and make sure it declines as slowly as possible. Working on balance can also help minimize your fall risk which increases tremendously as we age.
Making sure that all your other joints stay healthy despite one being in pain can result in an overall improved quality of life that can help maintain the integrity of your other joints and allow you to experience a better quality of life.