Arthritis technically means ‘inflammation of a joint’. When your knee does not have a good balance of flexibility and strength, you can experience wear and tear on the joint that leads to osteoarthritis, and eventually that ‘bone on bone’ scenario that means you’ve worn away the cartilage that would otherwise keep the bones from touching each other. Keeping your knee strong and flexible will keep those bones from rubbing in the wrong places and take away your pain.
We can’t magically reverse the damage that arthritis represents, meaning, the structural damage to the cartilage is what it is. However, we can reverse the symptoms! When your leg muscles are too tight, they compression the joint. They squeeze the bones together which adds to the compression that gravity and your body weight causes already. Loosen up the muscles, and now the bones aren’t being squeezed together as much. Less squeezing = less pain. So- stretch, stretch, stretch. Here’s my favorites to get you started, and the full knee program will teach you the stretches for all of the muscles surrounding the knee joint. You’ll also learn some strengthening exercises which is key to preventing more arthritic damage. When the muscles are working together as a team, they keep the joint in the proper alignment – so, less wear and tear. Even if you’ve been told that there’s nothing you can do for your knees except to have surgery, these exercises have given relief to thousands of my patients. It’s a good bet.
Video Transcript: Arthritis in Knee
Arthritis technically means ‘inflammation of a joint’. When your knee does not have a good balance of flexibility and strength, you can experience wear and tear on the joint that leads to osteoarthritis. And with enough wear and tear, it will eventually lead to that ‘bone on bone’ scenario that means you’ve worn away the cartilage that would otherwise keep the bones from touching each other. My name is Josie and I’m a licensed physical therapist. I’ve heard a lot of people come to me and tell me that they have ‘arthritis’. With some of them it’s not that bad and it hasn’t been bothering them for very long. Some of them have tried many treatment options, and after yet another XRAY their doctor told them there was nothing they could do for their pain except to have a knee replacement. The levels of arthritis vary greatly, but in my 20 years of experience I have seen people at all stages of arthritis progression have relief with the proper physical therapy. Keeping your knee strong and flexible will keep those bones from rubbing in the wrong places and could take away your pain.
It was hard for me to choose just one exercise for this free tip video- so I decided to share an exercise that has 3 easy variations so that you get a 3 in 1 free tip. Lay down on your back and have a belt with you. hook the loop around your foot and lift your leg up, keeping it straight. When you feel it stretching along the back side of your knee – that’s the spot! Keep it there for 20 seconds. Let it down to give your arms a break if you need to. For the variations- lift your leg back up again and this time let your leg fall open, and at this angle you’ll feel the stretch in the back of your knee, but also along the inner thigh. 20 seconds. Then bring your leg back across your body, controlling it with the help of your arms, and let your ankle twist inwards a bit as well. Feel that stretch along your outer thigh for another 20 seconds. Repeat them all again.
And that’s just the beginning of the comprehensive program that I’ve put together to help decrease the symptoms associated with arthritis of the knees. Please check out my full length PT session because even if you are on track for that alleged inevitable knee replacement, doing the right exercises before you have the surgery will definitely help you have a quicker and more complete recovery!