Arthritis In Knee Treatment

Author: Chloe Wilson - BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy

There are a whole range of arthritis in knee treatments, but the one most consistently found to make a difference is exercises.  Whilst exercises won't cure the condition, they can be extremely effective in reducing pain and increasing function, making a huge difference to daily life.  They can even help delay the need for surgery.

If the knee is strong and flexible, less weight goes through the arthritic knee and there is less pain and wear through the joint.

Here we will concentrate on advanced, challenging exercises for arthritis. If you haven’t already tried the strengthening, movement and balance exercises, I suggest you start there. Once you have mastered those and feel in need of more challenging exercises, these are the ones for you. 

You can also find out more about other arthritis in knee treatment options including injections, homeopathy and medication in the arthritis treatment section.

Advanced Exercises For Arthritis

1) Wall Squats

Purpose: Quadruple benefit with this arthritis knee exercise - Strengthens the quads, hamstrings and glutes and increases knee mobility/flexibility

Starting position: Stand with your back against the wall, feet apart and about 30cms from the wall, toes pointing forwards

Action: Slowly slide down the wall a few inches bending your knees. Hold for 3-5 seconds and return to starting position.

Repetition: Repeat 10-25 times, 2x daily

Progression: 1) Increase the depth of the dip 2) Hold the bent knee position for longer (aiming for 10secs)

Note: As you squat, don’t let your knees come too far in or out - Keep your knee in line with your second toe so you can always see your big toe past the inside of your knee

2) Step Ups

Purpose: Very functional way of strengthening all the knee muscles and practising stairs

Starting Position: Stand facing the bottom of the stairs or a single step. Hold onto the wall/rail for support if required

Action: Step up onto the first stair leading with the leg you want to strengthen. Without turning round, step both feet back down leading with the good leg

Repetition: Repeat 10-30 times, 2x daily

Progression: 1) Don’t hold onto anything 2) Keep the leg to be worked up on the step and just move the other leg up and down

Note: If you don’t have any steps at home, be creative e.g. phone directory

3) Step Downs

Intro: Strengthen the quads, improve balance, improve knee stability

Starting Position: Stand sideways on top of a step. Hold the wall/rail for support

Action: Slowly lower your good leg down to the floor and then bring it back up (keeping your other foot up on the step throughout)

Repetition: Repeat 5-20x, twice daily

Note: 1) You are aiming to do this in a slow, controlled fashion 2) Don’t let the knee twist inwards, keep it in line with your second toe so you can always see your big toe

Daily Arthritis in Knee Treatment Plan

For effective arthritis in knee treatment, exercises should be done at least five times per week.  Here you will find a daily exercise plan that means you split the exercises into groups rather than having to do them all at the same time. This way, each set will take you less than five minutes, making it much more manageable to fit into busy days.

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If you haven't already seen them, I suggest you have a look at the strengthening exercises and movement and balance exercise pages for more really helpful arthritis in knee treatment ideas.

This programme gives you a mix of strengthening, movement and balance exercises, with the option to progress onto the advanced exercises when you feel ready.  I have colour co-ordinated each exercise so you know what type of arthritis in knee treatment exercise it is e.g. strengthening exercises are colour coded in blue

Please tailor this to suit you – some exercises may be too easy or too difficult for you and therefore not appropriate. Find what works for you. The people who have the most success are those who stick with their exercise programmes. For information see the Getting The Best Results from arthritis in knee treatment section.

AM: Before Getting Out of Bed: Heel Slides, Short Arcs, Straight Leg Raise, Knee Marching and either The Clam OR Buttock Clenches

Late Morning AND Afternoon: Kick Backs, Sit To Stand OR Advanced exercises. Plus Long arcs, Ankle Spins and Single leg standing

Evening: Heel Slides, Short arc quads, Straight Leg Raise and either The Clam OR Buttock Clenches

Anytime sitting for more than 20 mins: Long Arcs and Ankle spins

If you would prefer to only do exercises twice a day, combine the AM and late morning set, and the afternoon and evening set.

What Else Can Help?

Exercises are just one part of arthritis in knee treatment.  There are a number of other things that can really help including knee braces, acupuncture, natural remedies and changing your diet for arthritis.

For more information including symptoms, diagnosis and other arthritis in knee treatment options, check out the Arthritis overview.

You can also check out our new book Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control.  Packed full of great information from exercises to knee replacements and everything in between.  Available in paperback or on your Kindle from only $3.99/£2.99.

Go to Arthritis Guide or Knee Pain Guide


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