Exercises for Osteoarthritis

Exercises for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common ailments caused by aging. It results in pain and inflammation in the joints, especially the knees.

Exercise is one of the best ways to find relief without drugs. Exercise helps the joints compress and release, bringing good things like nutrients and oxygen into the cartilage and increasing blood flow.

The three main types of exercises that help the most are ones that involve range of motion or flexibility, endurance or aerobic exercises, and strengthening exercises.

Range of Motion Exercises

Osteoarthritis makes it difficult for joints to function without causing pain. Even the simplest task can cause a great amount of pain.

Exercises like gentle stretching and taking joints through their full range of motion can help improve the movement in the joints and reduce pain.

Sitting knee extensions, hip flexor stretches, and other exercises like these can help.

Aerobic Exercises

These exercises help strengthen the heart and lungs at the same time you’re helping your joints. They can also help you maintain or lose weight since those extra pounds put stress on hip and knee joints.

Walking, swimming, biking, or elliptical training are lower-impact and are pretty joint-friendly. Begin with about 10 minutes at a time and increase the minutes every few days. The goal is about 30 minutes for five days a week.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the lower back and lower extremities can help take some of the pressure off your hips and knees. Resistance bands or light weights can help with this. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi can also help improve balance and build strength.

Getting up from a chair into a standing position and then sitting back down without using your hands for 30 seconds can be a good exercise. Squatting and standing against a wall can also be good. Standing on one leg for ten seconds at a time is also a way to strengthen your joints.

What Exercises Should You Avoid?

The key is making sure you don’t jump into any exercise routine too quickly. Make sure you build up your strength and endurance first.

For severe osteoarthritis, it’s best to avoid high-impact exercises like running, activities where you change direction quickly like tennis or basketball, and workouts that involve jumping.

For moderate symptoms, some higher-impact exercises can help stimulate cells to help repair cartilage.

Before beginning any exercise program, check with your doctor and make sure you know how to do the exercises correctly. A personal trainer or physical therapist can help teach you proper form. Don’t push through any pain. These exercises are only suggestions. The professionals at B3 Medical can help you find a non-surgical way to relieve your osteoarthritis pain and help you find the best exercises for your symptoms. Contact us today.

Preventing Osteoarthritis

Preventing Osteoarthritis

Millions of Americans have or will get osteoarthritis, known as OA. It happens when the cartilage in joints breaks down causing limited mobility, pain, and swelling. Key risk factors are genetics and age.

We can’t keep from getting older and we can’t change our genetics, but there are some things that can help you reduce your risk. 

Keep the Weight Off

Those extra pounds are the biggest risk factors for osteoarthritis. Every bit of extra weight puts added stress on the joints which can make the cartilage deteriorate faster. Each pound puts about four pounds of stress on the knees and increases pressure on hip joints.

Physical activity is one of the best ways to treat or help prevent osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five times a week can keep joints healthy and can strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize the hips and knees.

Low impact exercise can help keep the weight off and can improve joint health. Adding strength and resistance training to aerobic exercise can make a difference.

It doesn’t have to be at a gym. Go for a walk, get out in the garden, clean the house; all have benefits. Just make sure if things start to hurt, stop the activity. 

Get Rest

Taking it easy after exercise can help joints if they are swollen. Overuse of joints can increase OA risk. If something hurts, ice it for sudden or chronic pain or for inflamed joints. Heat is good for the pain that is sore and achy.

Make sure you’re also getting enough sleep. Fatigue can increase pain. Your body needs sleep to heal and protect itself.

Control Blood Sugar and Eat Right

Diabetes may play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. High glucose levels can speed up molecules that stiffen cartilage and trigger inflammation so control your blood sugar.

Drink lots of water because hydration keeps the joints lubricated, which can help prevent osteoarthritis.

Protect Yourself

If something injures the cartilage, it doesn’t heal very well. An injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis than one that was not injured. So, protect your joints. Wear protective gear like padding for sports.

Also, make sure your shoes are good and provide plenty of support. Look for breathable material, good arch support, and a padded heel. Proper shoes will provide shock absorption and help stabilize your knees.

Make sure to warm up and stretch before exercise and cool down after, and if you can, exercise on a soft and flat surface.

If the pain is persistent or you’re stiff in the morning for more than ten minutes, see a doctor. The professionals at B3 Medical can help diagnose and treat osteoarthritis. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.