When you have arthritis in your knees, you may have kicked around the idea of steroid injections or other dramatic measures to help relieve pain. One way you can help relieve the pain of arthritis pain in your knees as well as slow down the progression of the disease is to engage in specific exercises for knee arthritis.
There are plenty of exercises that can be done right in your home, without having to purchase a lot of expensive equipment. Most of the exercises for knee arthritis can use common household items, and only take a few minutes a day.
Exercise #1: Hamstring Stretches
Even though this isn’t focusing specifically on the knee, the hamstrings connect to the knee joint. By stretching these muscles gently and carefully, you can loosen up a lot of the stiffness and pain that often happens in patients with arthritis of the knee.
There are a variety of different ways to stretch the hamstrings, but one of the most gentle way of stretching these crucial muscles is by using a bed sheet. Make a loop out of a bedsheet, and lying on the floor, insert your right leg into the loop. Use your arms to hold onto the ends of the sheet, and gently pull your foot down towards you, keeping your leg straight. You should feel resistance, but not pain. Hold for 20 seconds, release, and repeat with the left leg.
Exercise #2: Straight Leg Raises
This exercise will work the quadricep. Strengthening the quadricep is essential to take strain and pain off the knee joint. To do straight leg raises, lie flat on your back with your right leg straight, and your left leg bent. Flex your right foot, and keeping your leg taut, lift your right leg off the floor 3-6 inches. Hold for a count of 3, then bring the leg back to a resting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10. Switch legs, and repeat with the other side.
Exercise #3: The Pillow Squeeze
This is a variation of an exercise that often uses resistance bands. It is modified for people who are suffering from knee pain, and can be a great alternative to having to pay for extra exercise equipment. It strengthens the inner thighs, which also helps balance the leg and quadriceps to help keep strain off the knee.
From a seated position, place a pillow between your knees. Squeeze the pillow with your knees, and hold for 5 seconds. Relax, then repeat for a total of 15 times. To increase the intensity of this exercise, you can perform it while lying flat on the floor, legs bent, and the pillow between your knees.
Exercise #4: The Stationary Bicycle
While not necessarily an item you already have in your home, a stationary bicycle is perhaps one of the best exercises for knee arthritis. It is a gentle, no-impact exercise that encourages range of motion for the knee.
It also works to strengthen all of the muscles around the knee, helping to stabilize and strengthen the knee joint overall. You can start slowly, and gradually increase the intensity and speed of your pedaling.
When it comes to slowing down the progression of arthritis pain, exercises for knee arthritis can help prevent the need for more drastic means of pain relief. These exercises can be done in just a few minutes a day, and offer benefits such as strength, endurance, increased flexibility, and increased range of motion. Best of all, most of these exercises require no additional equipment and can be done in the comfort of your own home.