As we get older stiffness and pain can be common complaints of our joints. Left unattended these can develop into arthritis. Arthritis in the knees is one of the most common forms of the problem. When people develop arthritis it can hurt to use their limbs and to put weight on the joints in question. This leads many people who suffer from arthritis to stop using that joint as much as possible. Sadly this will only make the problem worse. If you suffer from joint pain or arthritis it is incredibly important that you continue to use that joint and the surrounding muscles.
If you fail to use the joint consistently the pain will only become worse. However, there are smart ways to use your joints and silly ways. If you have arthritis then you must take extra care to avoid being stuck in bed for a few days after each moment of exercise.
The first step is to prepare correctly. If you have arthritis in the knees then a common form of exercise is to go for a walk. Before you step outside the house you should heat up a moist cloth and place it on your knees for a few minutes. This will heat up the knee causing the blood to rise and the muscle to warm. Before you have even started to walk your muscles won’t be as stiff as usual. When you finish your walk try doing some stretches to ensure the muscle and joint don’t stiffen and use an ice pack to cool them down and reduce any swelling that may have occurred.
If walking is too difficult then talk to your doctor and you may be recommended better exercises. As a general rule though you should alter the exercise to one of more or less weight bearing depending on how you are responding. If walking is too much weight then swimming may be the perfect exercise. Swimming offers no strain on the joints and is great for the entire body.
One surprising exercise that may help is the alphabet. If you are struggling with pain in your knees and don’t enjoy standing it is important to still use them every day. Lie on your back and draw the letters of the alphabet with your legs. This will work the hips and subtly work the muscles that support the knees as well.
Leg raise, hamstring stretch, half squats, and others are all great exercises to build the strength in your legs and support your knees. However, be careful with how much you take on and how often you do them. Consult a medical professional to ensure you are taking the right approach and that the exercises you are doing are beneficial.
In the past, if anyone had a sore muscle or joint they were advised to give it rest. Today we are far more knowledgeable about the body and know that it is important to keep using the muscles to ensure they maintain their strength while other parts are recovering. This is why you should really see a qualified physiotherapist, to ensure you are on the right path to regaining your strength.
In general, there are three rules to live by whether you are exercising with a full bill of health or managing an injury. Use ice and heat therapy to your benefit by warming up and cooling down effectively. Start slowly and build up so that your body is ready for the increases that are taking place. Don’t exert more energy than your joints can handle and listen to your body. If you do a lot of exercises and it feels ok at the time but your knees hurt for two days after, that is your body telling you it was a bad idea. Listen and act accordingly.