Do X-rays show arthritis in your knees? If so, that’s likely the reason they’ve been sore or stiff. Your knees are critical to your mobility. They support you every day. At Apollo Pain Management, in Sun City Center, Florida, we’re here to help by offering these 6 tips to help you protect your knees when you have arthritis.
If you’re overweight or obese and have arthritis in your knees, losing weight is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself. Every pound you lose lessens the weight load on your knee joints by four pounds. If you lose 20 pounds, that relieves 80 pounds of pressure on your knee joints. If your knees could speak, they’d be thanking you for that 20-pound weight loss.
Plus, excess fatty tissue can produce inflammation in your body. Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, or redness are all signs of inflammation. Experts say losing weight is “a critical factor” in lowering inflammation.
Many jobs are sedentary, and you’re at risk of becoming too sedentary if you don’t get regular exercise. Sitting all day isn’t good for your knee joints. If you’re at the computer a lot during the day, take a break every 30 minutes. If you’re at home, get up and walk around the house, put in a load of laundry, or clean out a drawer.
The old saying, “use it or lose it” applies to those living with arthritis. It’s important to keep moving so that your joints don’t get so stiff that it becomes too painful to move. Appropriate forms of exercise help maintain your joint mobility and strength as well as reduce pain. If you make exercise an everyday part of your life, you’ll notice less pain, improvement in your sleep, and better daily functioning.
Non-weight-bearing exercise such as water-based therapy is very beneficial for sore knees. Check the schedule at your local recreation center for water aerobics classes, especially those geared to individuals with arthritis. Gentle range of motion and aerobic exercise gives you a good workout that doesn’t exacerbate your arthritis.
Tai chi is a low-impact exercise that improves joint flexibility, strength, and balance. Just walking in the neighborhood for 30 minutes five days a week is a great way to help maintain joint strength and mobility.
If your new year’s resolution is to work out or join a class at your gym, start the exercises at a slow pace. Ask about a class geared to those with arthritis. Many gyms have classes for seniors or those with mobility issues.
Even in a senior class, begin your routine slowly. If you haven’t done squats in years, start with baby squats; only bend your knees slightly instead of doing a full squat. Arthritic cartilage is more likely to tear when it’s stretched suddenly in a new way
When you have arthritis, it’s especially important to warm up before you start exercising. Stretching warms up the muscles surrounding your knee joints and helps lubricate your joint tissue. Start with gentle stretches such as sitting in a chair and gently raising your feet off the floor, then putting them back down; repeat 10 times with each leg. Then stand and with chair support, raise each knee 10 times. Baby squats are also great for stretching the muscles that support your knee: Hold on to a chair and bend your knees slightly, then return to your standing position; repeat 10 times.
You shouldn’t feel any pain when you’re exercising. If you do, simply stop that move and try it again when your exercise routine is more established.
Your physician may refer you to Apollo Pain Management. Call or request an appointment online.