Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis
Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis (OA), is the most common form of arthritis. This degenerative disease is most commonly found in in the over 50 crowd and at this time there is no outright cure. Our previous post highlighted some of primary factors of OA, how to manage them, and 5 Non-Surgical Ways to Help with Osteoarthritis.
- Diet and Nutrition (post now available)
- Rest, Recovery, and Sleep
- Bracing and Supports
- Viscosupplementation – Other Injection Therapies
When discussing treatment options with a patient, highlighting a handful of ways to help with osteoarthritis may be overwhelming. It’s important to break down each category and offer some clear instruction to empower their decisions. This post is going to focus on what kinds of activities and exercise are appropriate for someone suffering from moderate to severe OA.
Hip and knee osteoarthritis are the two most frequent areas this disease is found. Both being important weight bearing joints. The exercises and activities to follow will have patients suffering from hip or knee OA in mind.
Exercise and Activity
If you suffer from hip or knee osteoarthritis, discuss possible activities with your primary care provider, sport medicine physician and medical team before you begin. This will help determine if the movement patterns or environment of the sport or activity will help or hinder the degenerative disease. Appropriate levels of exercise can help strengthen the muscles supporting these weight bearing joints.
Physical Activities that Help Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis
Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout that will help burn calories. As obesity is one of the primary factors behind OA, it is important to continue shedding weight to help decrease the load on your joints. Getting in the pool is a low impact activity and will have far less likelihood of flaring symptoms. Swimming is a full body workout and will help strengthen the muscles supporting the affected joints. If you’re not a swimmer, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to get in the pool without having to venture out of the shallow end. Take a look at this short clip to see some great exercises you can be doing in the pool to help your osteoarthritis. If you’re looking for more structure, a water aerobics class may be right for you.
Cycling is another great low impact activity that has a strong focus on building strength and endurance for muscles that support hips and knees. Despite this being a low impact activity, there can still be obstacles like hills, uneven ground or trying to work your way through Toronto’s busy streets. If this is your situation, the Martin Goodman waterfront trail a great option. Along the trail, Woodbine beach, Balmy beach, Sunnyside Park, and the downtown core all have flat and freshly paved paths to enjoy. Indoor cycling is always a great option as well. Many fitness companies have tried make it more enjoyable and interactive. Take a look at the Zwift platform that makes your cycling experience come to life in a virtual reality competition.
One of the most effective ways to maintain high levels of physical activity, while suffering from osteoarthritis, is to be as strong as possible. Talk to your sport medicine doctor or physiotherapist about exercises and areas you should focus on when starting or continuing a strength training regimen.
Standing up from a chair, going up and down stairs and getting out of a car are simple tasks one may do many times a day. Often hip and knee OA make these difficult. There are several ways that physiotherapists, chiropractors and trained strength coaches can teach specific exercises designed to target those muscle groups. Once strengthened, normal daily life becomes easier once again.
Many people enjoy walking and find that their hip and knee osteoarthritis interferes stops them. Nordic Walking poles can be used to decrease the work done by the legs, are easy to use and can be done solo or in a “Poling Group.” In Toronto, many groups are available for walks in High Park and other locations.