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Archive for July, 2012

Exercise Goals

July 30, 2012

Share your exercise goals.

More than 10 million Americans suffer from knee osteoarthritis. Knee pain can cause a lack of mobility resulting in depression, weight gain, feelings of helplessness and difficulty participating in daily activities. By setting goals like increasing your daily or weekly exercise time, or add stretching, you can radically improve your quality of life. Goals can be tailored for each individual and provide a basis for achieving and monitoring your progress.

Knowing your body and its limits is also very important. You know your body better than anyone. It is much better to rest and take it easy than to push yourself and risk further injuries. Allowing your body to adequately recover allows you to increase the duration and intensity of your exercise routines.  Set exercise goals and keep a close eye on your body in order to safely improve knee function.

Laying Leg Raises

Laying leg raises make it easier for someone with knee arthritis to stand in a steady position for extended periods of time. This exercise can be performed with a yoga mat on the floor or flat on a firm bed.
Lie on your back.   Plant one foot flat with the knee bent to provide stability while exercising the opposite leg. Lift your other leg off the floor while keeping your knee straight. You should try and keep your heel 12 to 18 inches off the bed. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds. This strengthens the hip flexor muscles as well as the muscles surrounding the knee. This exercise should be done until fatigue sets in and you should stop immediately if any pain is felt.

Partial Lunges

July 24, 2012

Partial Lunges

Lunges are an excellent exercise for stretching the calf as well as strengthening the hip flexor. Strong hip flexors and properly stretched calves allow the knee to move in its natural range of motion while being properly supported. Partial lunges can be added to any workout routine and can be performed anywhere.  This exercise can help reduce knee pain.

Using a wall or a piece of furniture for stability, place your right foot a shoulder’s width in front of the left, with both knees pointed forward. Your back leg is straight and your front knee is slightly bent. Gently transfer your weight to the front foot, without bending too far and causing pain. Hold for this position for 25 seconds then switch your feet in order to stretch both legs.

Stretching Partners

With over 10 million people suffering from knee osteoarthritis it shouldn’t be hard to find someone in the same boat as yourself. Not all knee osteoarthritis is the same but by creating an exercise routine or stretching regiment you will be much more likely to reach your goals. An exercise partner provides some extra motivation on days you’re not quite feeling your best. You can discuss your progress, arthritic knee treatment, and help each other reduce knee pain and joint stiffness.

Keeping track of your workouts as well as monitoring your efforts allows you to see your improvements. A steady routine and a helpful workout partner can be the difference between reducing your knee pain dramatically or losing motivation and becoming overwhelmed.

Exercise Bike

July 18, 2012

Exercise Bike

Exercise is critical in keeping joints limber and keeping your body in shape. A stationary bike is an effective low impact exercise for individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Since there is no repeated contact with the ground, little pressure is exerted on the knees. Riding a stationary bike mimics walking motion in the knees and is very easy on the joints.

A stationary bike is a great way to shed some pounds without putting unnecessary stress on your knees. Cycling is commonly used as a rehabilitation exercise and provides a controlled movement through a range of motion that is needed for most daily activities. Spending 30 minutes on an exercise bike 3-4 days a week can dramatically improve overall knee function.

Standing Heel Raises

Doctors recommend moderate physical activity and weight loss to help manage knee osteoarthritis. Standing heel raises improve flexibility, decrease joint stiffness and improve range of motion. They also minimize muscle soreness after workouts and reduce calf injuries.

A standing heel raise is performed by standing straight and tall, legs fully extended, facing a stable railing. Use the railing for support and stability, lift both heels off the floor. Tighten your quadriceps while not locking out your knees. Remain on your tiptoes for one second, then lower your heels back down slowly. Repeat 15 times.


July 12, 2012

Chair Pilates

Pilates can be a great tool for managing osteoarthritis knee pain. Pilates can increase flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. By including Pilates as part of your arthritis treatment you can lose weight while improving your overall sense of well-being. Studies have shown people with arthritis who perform Pilates had a better range of motion and less stiffness than people who did not include Pilates in their exercise routines.

Pilates can be a great benefit to arthritis suffers because it can strengthen the muscles supporting the knee joint. When combining Pilates with aerobic exercises you can establish a workout routine to lose weight and strengthen knee muscles while reducing knee pain.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

A common stretching exercise used to increase flexibility in the knee would be a standing hamstring stretch. This stretch can be performed using a stool to slowly increase flexibility without causing pain in arthritic knees. This stretch can be done in your house, office, or in the gym, which makes it an easy and beneficial stretch.

A standing hamstring stretch is done by placing one foot on an 18-inch platform. Stepstools work great. Leave your right foot on the floor and place your left foot on the stool with the knee bent at around 15°. Gently lean forward reaching for your left foot keeping your back straight. Continue until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold for 20 seconds. Then alternate legs. This stretch should be repeated for 10 sets on both legs.

Step ups

July 6, 2012

Step ups

Knee osteoarthritis can cause intense pain and make exercise seem impossible. However, exercise can be one of the most effective means of lubricating the joint and increasing overall mobility. A simple exercise that can loosen up your knees and improve balance immensely is a step up. A step up can be completed using stairs, a raised platform, or a curb.

To execute a step up face a stable step with both feet on the ground. Step up with your right foot. Follow with your left foot. Stand tall on top of the step and with both feet flat. Step back down starting with your left foot, then right. This is a highly effective exercise because it simulates everyday movements and strengthens important muscle groups.


CMC Arthritis

July 3, 2012

Typing on your laptop.  Opening a pouch of coffee.  Filling in the crossword.  Easy activities of daily living can become painful for hands with CMC arthritis.

Hand arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis that affects Americans.  It is more prevalent in women than men.  Osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb  (Carpometacarpal or CMC Arthritis) is often found in people with jobs that incorporate repetitive pulling, pushing, lifting or gripping.

This is a condition that generally affects older patients.  Treatments can include steroid injections, drugs, a cmc arthritis thumb brace, and a change in lifestyle.  A thumb brace for CMC Arthritis needs to apply pressure at the base of the thumb.