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Best Exercises For Osteoarthritis

Explore a comprehensive guide featuring gentle yet effective workouts aimed at reducing pain, improving flexibility, and supporting individuals dealing with osteoarthritis.

  • 29 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read

Dealing with osteoarthritis can be challenging, but physical exercise is pivotal in maintaining joint function and managing symptoms. Here, we’ll introduce you to five impactful exercises tailored to help you strengthen your joints, alleviate discomfort and enhance mobility. By incorporating these knee-strengthening exercises for osteoarthritis into your routine, you can pave the way towards improved joint health and an enhanced quality of life.


List of the best exercises for osteoarthritis

Here are five knee exercises for osteoarthritis that can make a difference in your life:

  • Quadriceps sets
  • Straight leg raises
  • Heel raises
  • Seated hip marches
  • Calf raises 


1. Quadriceps sets

These foundational exercises focus on strengthening the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh. Begin by sitting or lying down with your legs extended. Tighten your quadriceps on one leg by pressing the back of your knee into the surface you are resting on. Hold this contraction for a few seconds before relaxing. Repeat this process for 10-15 repetitions on each leg. This exercise helps maintain muscle tone and provides essential stability to arthritic knees, assisting in better weight distribution and joint support.


2. Straight leg raises

Sit on a chair, and keep both legs bent at 90°. Slowly lift one leg a few inches off the ground, keeping your knee straight. Lower the leg down and perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg. Straight leg raises are effective in targeting the quadriceps and hip flexor muscles. By engaging these muscle groups, you are not only working towards strengthening the knee joint but also improving its overall range of motion, which is crucial for performing everyday activities with ease. 


3. Heel raises

To perform this exercise, find a sturdy support, like a chair or a wall, to hold on to for balance. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your heels off the ground slowly, rising onto your toes; hold this position for a moment. Then, lower your heels back to the ground. Repeat this movement 10-15 times.

The heel raise exercise targets the calf muscles and the Achilles tendons. By strengthening these muscles, you are enhancing the stability of your ankles, which is essential for maintaining a steady gait and reducing the risk of injury. This osteoarthritis physical exercise can improve overall body strength, balance, and joint support.


4.  Seated hip marches

This exercise is one of the simplest exercises for arthritic knees and strengthens the hip flexors, which are crucial for maintaining mobility and stability in the hips. To begin, sit comfortably on a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands on the sides of the chair for support. Lift one foot slightly off the ground, bringing your knee towards your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds and lower your foot back to the ground. Alternate between your left and right legs, performing 10-15 repetitions on each side.


5. Calf raises

To do a calf raise, stand behind a sturdy support such as a chair for balance. Rise onto your toes; lift your heels off the ground and slowly lower them back. Perform 10-15 repetitions. Calf raises concentrate on the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. You can improve ankle stability by strengthening these areas, contributing to a more stable gait. A well-supported gait reduces undue stress, allowing smoother and less painful movement.

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Managing osteoarthritis requires a multifaceted approach, and targeted exercises are a valuable component. By consistently practising knee strengthening exercises for osteoarthritis, you’re taking proactive steps towards enhancing the strength, flexibility and stability of your knees. When performed under professional guidance and as part of a comprehensive management plan, these exercises contribute to a better quality of life by promoting mobility and reducing discomfort. Remember, every small step in your osteoarthritis physical exercise routine is a stride toward improved joint health and overall well-being.

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