Suffering from knee pain, swelling and stiffness due osteoarthritis?

Try these simple exercises to relieve your symptoms

Osteoarthritis (OA) knee is one of the major causes of pain and impaired physical function globally. Since the prevalence of the disease increases with age, older people in the community are confronted more. It is also seen that women are generally more susceptible to OA as compared to men. Persistent knee pain, swelling and stiffness in the individual implicate the requirement for functional mobility assistance. Regular exercise helps in improving the physical function, relieving pain and decreasing the disability due to knee OA.

The Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that individuals with arthritic knee should exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per day.

What happens in knee osteoarthritis?

In people with arthritic knee, there is degeneration or deterioration of articular cartilage, narrowing of joint space and weakening of surrounding knee muscles. All these lead to pain, loss of muscular strength and an eventual disability in the person.

Exercises for knee Osteoarthritis

Before starting any exercise session, the individual needs to consult the health care provider. One should begin the session with a small warm-up workout, in order to boost up blood flow.

After the exercise session, ice packs can be applied to decrease the swelling. Pain relieving over-the-counter drugs can also be taken to provide comfort.

Below are some exercises that can be easily performed without any equipment and can bring about substantial improvement in the symptoms of knee arthritis:

Stretches- improve flexibility
Muscle strengthening exercises: boosts muscles around the knee
Aerobics: Improves cardiovascular system and overall health

How to do the knee Exercises?

    1. Simple Leg Rising

A simple leg raise is easy to begin with. This can be done 3 times for each side. The leg should be kept in air for around 20 seconds.

      • Position the body flat on the floor or bed. Keep the hands straight in the sides.
      • Lift the leg upwards slowly, keeping the leg straight and leg muscles tightened.
      • Tighten the stomach muscles and try pushing down the lower back.
      • Hold the leg in the air for around 20 seconds; gently move the leg down to original position.
      • Repeat the process on the same leg, and then repeat with other leg.
    1. Lying Hamstring Stretches

This exercise is mainly done to eliminate the tightening of the Hamstring muscle located on back of thigh. This can be done twice a day. A towel or a stretcher can also be used to perform this exercise.

      • Position the body flat on floor or bed, keeping one leg in bent position.
      • Pull another leg upwards, supporting the thighs with both the hands.
      • Keep pulling the legs, until a strong stretch is felt in the middle of the thigh.
      • Hold for around 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.
    1. Half-Squat

Half-squat acts on quadriceps, buttocks and hamstrings muscles and promotes knee strengthening

      • Stand tall keeping feet and shoulders apart
      • Stretch out both the in front of the body
      • Bend the knees slowly until a half-sitting position is achieved.
      • Keep the back erect and avoid leaning forward.
      • Hold on the position for 5 seconds, and return to the standing position
    1. Leg Stretch

This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front of the thigh, the quadriceps.

    • Sit on the floor and spread out both the legs straight.
    • Position the back straight, stabilizing the body with hands on either side of the hips
    • Bend one knee slowly until it experiences stretched.
    • Hold the leg in the same position till 5 seconds.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises can be done depending upon the severity or the extent of arthritic knee. For mild symptoms, one can do walking, cycling, swimming, playing golf or yoga.
Individuals with advanced symptoms, unable to do these can benefit from water therapy. Water therapy with the combination of buoyancy and resistance is excellent for patients with OA knee.


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