Stretches and exercises for knee pain caused by Osteoarthritis

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The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. Due to its load-bearing capabilities and range of motion, it is susceptible to injury and pain over time.اضافة اعلان

The cushioning effect of cartilage between the bones of the joint may become thinned or worn out. This process is called wear-and-tear arthritis or more formally known as Osteoarthritis (OA).

As a result, those diagnosed with OA can at times feel excruciating pain. A study conducted on Jordanians with OA reported that 44.8 percent of patients felt severe pain due to their condition and that 34.6 percent were in constant pain.

This affliction disproportionally impacts women over men and typically manifests in later years, although the early stages can begin much sooner. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10 percent of the population over the age of 60 has symptomatic knee OA, and the prevalence only increases with age.

Causes and risk factors

The exact cause for OA is still not entirely determined, but there are frequent correlations within OA and medical history that suggest potential causes. The common denominator is age. Even though OA can develop in younger individuals due to other factors, the development of OA typically occurs around the age of 45.

It is theorized that age is a leading factor in OA because, over time, it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to regenerate and heal; in the case of OA, this applies to the cartilage.

Additionally, weight is another significant factor and may cause the development of OA in younger individuals. Statistics have shown that with every pound of weight added to the body, 3–4 pounds of pressure are added to the knee, further accelerating cartilage deterioration.

Stress injuries are another leading factor in developing OA, and they can take many forms. In lines of work demanding constant and repetitive heavy lifting (55 pounds and more), kneeling, or squatting, the likelihood of developing OA increases. Sports requiring agility and high-impact sports such as soccer or tennis are another cause of stress injuries and are a potential cause for developing OA sooner in life.

Stretches and exercises

Although stress and impact can cause OA to develop sooner in individuals, the cases are much less prominent than those found in older patients.

Regular and moderate exercise strengthens the joints and can reduce the risk of developing OA. Furthermore, regular exercise can help maintain or lower body weight, significantly reducing pressure on the knees.

On the other hand, stretching can work to help reduce pain for those with OA and help potentially reduce the risk of developing OA. Stretching can help individuals relax the muscles that may be putting stress on the joint and generally increase flexibility and range of motion.

For those currently afflicted with OA and who are considering stretching as a way to reduce pain, we will be sharing a few stretches that can guide you.
Please make sure to consult your doctor or physiotherapist before attempting these stretches. If sharp or sudden pain is felt at any point during these stretches, stop the exercises immediately.

(Photo: WebMD)

1- The first stretch is a hamstring stretch.

A hamstring is a group of muscles the runs along the back of your thigh. It is responsible for bending the knee, and tension in this muscle group can pull on the joint.

This stretch can be performed in many, but individuals suffering from pain, old age, or limited mobility may find it difficult.

To do this stretch, you should lie on your back comfortably and use something like a bedsheet to wrap around your foot. Use the sheet to help pull your leg up straight, and this method should help stretch the hamstring muscle effectively.

Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and perform twice on each leg.

(Photo: WebMD)

2- The second stretch is a calf stretch.

The calf is another group of muscles located behind your shin and anchored at the base of the knee.

To perform this stretch, find a chair for balance and place one leg in front of you and one behind you. The leg in the back is the one that will be stretched.
Start by bending the knee of the leg in front and slowly push the heel of the back leg to the floor. If you don’t feel the stretch, you can widen your stance or lean forward and further bend the front knee, making sure not to go past your toes.
Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and perform twice on each leg.

There are many exercises you can perform to build muscle and strengthen and support the joint of the knee.
The first exercise is straight leg raises.

(Photo: WebMD)

1- The quadriceps is a group of muscles that run from the length on the front of the thigh. It is responsible for pulling the knee straight.

To do this exercise, start by lying on the floor comfortably and support your upper body with your elbows. Next, bend one knee at a 90-degree angle with the foot flat on the floor. The other leg should be tightened, kept straight, and toes pointed upward.

Begin to slowly raise the leg and hold for 3 seconds. Then, while keeping the muscle tightened, slowly lower the leg to the floor.
Do 10 repetitions twice on each leg.

Alternatively, for those who may find this exercise difficult, you can perform a quad set.

(Photo: WebMD)

2- Simply keep both legs straight and tighten the muscle while resting on the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Perform 10 repetitions twice on each leg.
The second exercise is the seated hip march.

(Photo: WebMD)

3- This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the hips and thighs and is generally helpful to daily activities like walking or standing.

Begin by sitting in a chair upright. Then swing your left foot back, keeping your toes on the floor. Next, lift your right foot off the floor; your knees should be bent at this point. Hold the pose for 3 seconds and then lower to the ground.

Repeat exercise 10 times and then switch legs. If that is too difficult, you may use your hands to help lift your legs up.

The third exercise is the pillow squeeze.

(Photo: WebMD)

4- This exercise is designed to strengthen the inside of your legs to help support your knees.
Start by laying on your back with your knees bent, and then place a pillow between them. Next, squeeze the pillow with your knees and hold it for 5 seconds, then release.
Repeat 10 times twice. If you find it to be too difficult, you may perform the same exercise on a chair.
The fourth exercise is the heel raise.

(Photo: WebMD)

5- Start by standing upright and hold the back of a chair for support. Next, lift your heels off the ground slowly and stand on your toes. Hold this pose for 3 seconds and repeat 10 times.

If you are having any difficulties, you may also perform this exercise while seated.

This final exercise is step-ups.

6- Which helps strengthen the lengths for activities such as climbing stairs.
Start by standing in front of stairs holding on to the railings for support. Next, place your left foot on a step, tighten your left thigh muscle and step up with your right foot. Keep muscles tight and slowly lower right foot back down to the floor.

Do 10 repetitions twice and switch legs. 

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