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Mall Walkers

This is the final article in a three part series of posts about the benefits of exercise for a knee suffering from osteoarthritis.

Strengthening, stretching, and exercising an arthritic knee has many benefits.  One of everybody’s favorites is weight loss.  Exercise and a healthy diet can help you lose weight.  The more weight you lose the less stress you’ll put on your knee.  The effect of weight loss has an incremental effect.  Every pound you lose decreases the pressure on your knees by three pounds.  It’s a 3:1 ratio.  The less stress on your knees, the less they will hurt.  The less your knees hurt the more easily it will be to move around.   Get the picture?

Strong and limber muscles will also help you maintain your activities of daily living.  What do you like to do?  If your answer is sit on the couch and watch television then these posts were probably a waste of your time.  But if you like to walk, go places, work, participate in sports and recreational activities then get up and get moving.  The more you do so, the easier it’s going to get.

Standing calf stretch

Strengthening, stretching, and exercising the knee will help provide pain relief for knees suffering from osteoarthritis.  This is the second part of three posts on this subject.

Exercise can also help support healthy cartilage.  Healthy cartilage requires motion and some stress.  Nutrients and lubrication are delivered to cartilage whenever it is used.  Synovial fluid moves in and out of knee cartilage every time you take a step.  If you don’t move, neither does the synovial fluid.  Imagine the difference between drinking water from a crisp clear babbling brook or a stagnant pond.  What do you think will be better for you?

Cartilage is like a sponge.  Keeping the synovial fluid moving through it keeps the sponge moist and supple.  Think of the sponge that dries out on your sink.  It gets crumbly and starts to deteriorate.  The same is true with your knee cartilage.

Knee Exercises

Exercise and stretching can help prevent and relieve knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.  When done regularly stretches, low-impact aerobic exercise, and strengthening exercise can provide many benefits.

Increase Function and Range of Motion – Exercise and stretching will keep the muscles surrounding the knee joint limber.  The more you stretch the greater your knee’s range of motion.  The easier it is for your knee to move, the easier it will be to exercise.

Pain reduction – An unstable knee joint will do much better when supported by strong muscles.  The knee can be protected from repetitive impacts, like walking, by strengthening the muscles that surround the knee.  The hamstrings and quadriceps should be the primary focus.  Exercise also releases the body’s natural pain relievers, endorphins.


Knee Trauma

A knee injury can lead to post-traumatic knee arthritis.  A break in the tibia, fibula, or femur may damage the joint surface and lead to arthritis years after the injury. It depends on the severity of the injury.  Meniscal tears and ligament injuries can lead to an unstable knee joint, and additional wear on the cartilage, which can result in arthritis as the months and years pass.