Image-guided injections of viscosupplementation go a long way to relieve knee arthritis pain and stiff joints, but they are even more effective if coupled with exercises that strengthen the muscles in the knee.
Strong muscles not only support the weak joint and make the knee more stable, but they also help to absorb the stress placed on the joint when walking.
Exercise can also reduce the swelling and stiffness associated with knee arthritis, keeping the knee mobile and flexible.
Start slowly with the easy exercises below. Begin with three repetitions of each exercise every day, and when you’re comfortable with three, increase to four repetitions, and so on, until you reach ten.
If your arthritis has kept you immobile for a while and three repetitions of each exercise are too much, then scale back to two, or even one, to begin with. It’s not a competition, go at your own pace. The important thing is to make a start and commit to exercising every day.
The following six easy exercises for knee arthritis are courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation. All you need are a sturdy straight-backed chair, and a belt or resistance band.
Stand straight and place both hands on the back of the chair for balance. Keep your feet flat on the floor the width of your shoulders. Bend your knees, slowly lower your body a few inches, and count slowly to five. Tighten your butt, straighten up and repeat.
#2. Back Leg Stretch
Stand sideways to the chair and place one hand on the back of the chair for balance. Bend your knees and step backward with one foot, keeping both feet flat on the floor. Tighten your butt until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg from the calf to the hip. Count slowly to ten, straighten up, and repeat with the other leg.
#3. Back Leg Slide
First, stand straight, place both hands on the back of a chair. Keep your feet together and flat on the floor. Then, slide one foot back, keeping your toes on the floor, and tighten your butt. Finally, lowly count to five and slide your foot forward again. Repeat with the other leg.
#4. Knee Flex: Move One
Sit on the chair and place your feet within a belt or resistance band just above the ankles. Keep one foot flat on the floor and raise the other one, keeping your leg straight and the belt or resistance band taut. Slowly count to five, relax, and repeat with the other leg.
#5. Knee Flex: Move Two
Still seated on the chair with the belt or resistance band around your ankles, put both feet flat on the floor. Move one foot back under the chair and slowly count to five. Bring the foot forward to the original position and repeat with the other leg.
#6. Hamstring Stretch
With this exercise, sit on the edge of the chair with both feet together and flat on the floor. Keeping your knees together, stretch one leg forward with your heel on the ground, and your toes pointed up. Next, keep your back straight and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Then, slowly count to ten and return the outstretched leg to the original position. Repeat with the other leg.
Something to Think About
Surgery for an arthritic knee can be avoided by contacting one of the Arthritis Knee Pain Centers for a precision-guided injection and doing the six easy exercises recommended by the Arthritis Foundation.
Similarly, the other single most important thing that you can do to relieve the pain of knee arthritis and get the joint mobile again is to lose weight. Remember, one pound of excess body weight puts four pounds of extra stress on the joint. Lose ten pounds, and there’s forty pounds less pressure on an arthritic knee. That’s a lot.
One Last Thought
Finally, a point to think about. You will more than likely feel the beneficial effects of image-guided injections of viscosupplementation almost immediately, but exercise and weight loss may take a bit longer.
When you get discouraged and lose your motivation, think of these words by Greg Anderson, the wellness expert, “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.”
Image-guided fluoroscopy injections of viscosupplementation are covered by Medicare and most insurances.