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​5 Easy Steps to Combat Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

By Performance Health | January 15, 2018 Knee Pain
​5 Easy Steps to Combat Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

Are you starting to notice knee stiffness and pain following your normal activities? You may be experiencing the effects of osteoarthritis. See what you can do to lessen the effects and keep moving.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is commonly known as a “wear and tear” condition. It affects knees and other joints in the body, and it’s caused by regular, repetitive use. Osteoarthritis appears when the cartilage in your joints has been worn down. Cartilage is the material that cushions your joints and makes your movements smooth. The older you are, the more time you’ve spent moving your joints, so that cartilage starts to break down.

Broken down cartilage is much less effective at protecting your bones from repeated use, resulting in areas where the bones grind together. These spots rub against each other, creating further damage. You may even feel a “grinding” sensation as you move. That feeling is one of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in knee joints and usually signifies that you should pay special attention to your knee health. While those with past knee injuries or surgeries are often more susceptible to osteoarthritis, it can happen to anyone.

Why Active Stretching Matters for Osteoarthritis Pain Management

It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about your osteoarthritis symptoms, but that’s actually not true! The best thing to do: Get moving. Even though it might be tempting to decrease activity and change your routine once you experience swollen, painful knees, limiting exercise is actually worse for you. The more sedentary you become, the more susceptible you are to weight gain, which can lead to diseases like diabetes or heart disease

One way to get moving is to combine active stretching with a TheraBand® CLX™ resistance band. It can help you strengthen your knees and combat the effects of osteoarthritis. Healthcare professionals commonly prescribe assisted stretching and strengthening exercises to help strengthen the knees. Researchers have found significant improvements in quality of life, decrease in pain and increase in function when knee osteoarthritis patients perform balance and resistance training alone or in combination.

How to Treat Osteoarthritis at Home

Try these five simple exercises for increasing knee strength that you can do on your own.

1. Leg Curls

  1. Sit in a sturdy chair.
  2. Anchor your resistance band to the TheraBand CLX Anchor, TheraBand CLX Wall Station or a heavy object.
  3. Bend your knee and pull your leg back toward your chair.
  4. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position.

Repetition: 8-12 reps on each leg.

2. Hip Flexion

  1. Sit in a sturdy chair.
  2. Begin by looping the center of the band around the top of the knee of the leg you are exercising.
  3. Insert the foot of the opposite leg into the end loop to stabilize.
  4. Slowly flex your hip against the band, pulling upward. Hold and slowly return.

Pro Tip: Keep your back straight; don't lean forward.

Repetition: 8-12 reps on each leg.

3. CLX Sit-to-Stand

  1. Start in the All-In position. Place your feet in the two center loops and hands in the end loops.
  2. Sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and back straight.
  3. Place your arms out at 90 degrees and set your shoulders back.
  4. Keep your core tight and sit up straight.
  5. Slowly lower to a chair by bending your knees and hips.
  6. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to a standing position.

Repetition: 8-12 reps.

4. Calf Raises

  1. Start in the All-In position. Place your feet in the two center loops and hands in the end loops.
  2. Raise your arms up to your shoulders.
  3. Push the balls of your feet into the ground to go up on your toes.
  4. Hold in this position for a moment, then slowly lower yourself to the ground.

Repetition: 8-12 reps.

5. Leg Extension

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and put both feet through the center loops of your band.
  2. Standing on one leg, extend one leg backward behind your body.
  3. Hold in extension for a moment before returning to neutral position. Use a chair for balance assistance if needed.

Pro Tip: To increase difficulty, stand on a Stability Trainer while performing the exercise.

Repetition: 8-12 reps on each leg.

These strength training exercises should be performed 2-3 times per week using TheraBand CLX resistance bands. You can increase band resistance levels as you progress through the exercises. And if you experience an increase in pain or swelling, stop and contact a healthcare professional.

Osteoarthritis Pain Relief During Exercise

As you strengthen your knees with exercises, and even after, movement may be painful. For fast-acting relief, try applying Biofreeze. This pain relieving gel has been proven to significantly reduce pain during functional activities in knee osteoarthritis. People who used Biofreeze while they performed tasks like standing up from a chair and walking up and down stairs saw a 27-37% decline in pain.

Menthol, the active ingredient in Biofreeze, is thought to reduce pain through a biomechanical mechanism that stimulates cold receptors. Just apply Biofreeze to your knee, then do your exercises or go about your normal daily routine.

Don’t Let Osteoarthritis Slow You Down

At first, it may be challenging to strengthen your knees while struggling with pain and stiffness, but don’t let it stop you from being healthy and active. In addition to regular exercises the Arthritis Foundation recommends following a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest between workouts and following a regular sleep schedule.

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