Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition of the cartilage in our joints and most commonly affects the hip and knee. It can present with pain, joint stiffness, limited range of motion and swelling leading to a reduction in the ability to complete daily tasks. Should the condition become so severe joint replacement surgery results.
It has previously been said that those with OA should avoid many activities and of course there is the fear that certain exercise will make the problem worse. Also, an individual may not be inspired to exercise if it only means it will hurt. We now know that graduated exercise (gradually increasing the dose of the exercise) can actually help improve the health of the cartilage or at the very least slow the degeneration, improve strength and therefore improve joint function. By increasing the surrounding muscle strength, the support for the joint is increased.
Here are some suggested exercises to help with strengthening the hip and knee. I do advise that you seek the advice from a Chartered Physiotherapist where possible so that you can have a program that is bespoke to you.
- Sit down on a chair with a band tied around your knees and your feet shoulder width apart.
- Pull your knees out to open your legs against the band with your feet planted on the floor.
- You may do this in an upright position and then again in a leaning forwards position.
Sit on a chair and put a band around your thighs just above your knees.
With your feet slightly apart, lean forward so your shoulders are over your feet and stand up fully. Slowly return to sitting.
Resist the inward pull of the band by keeping your knees over your feet at all times.
Lay down with knees bent about 90°.
Wrap a band around the knees and place your feet hip width.
Push the hips upward by squeezing the glutes and lower slowly.
Keep the band taut during the movement.
Do not arch the lower back.
Bricca A, Juhl CB, Steultjens M, et al. Impact of exercise on articular cartilage in people at risk of, or with established, knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2019;53:940-947.