Knee arthritis can be painful and debilitating. For osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, self-care early on can often help significantly. It is important to stretch and strengthen the surrounding leg muscles to provide more support and reduce stresses around the joint. The following Best Bet Exercises will help you get started on your path to feeling stronger, more flexible and more active. Remember: Exercise should not be painful – if you experience pain, discontinue and consult with your physician.
Quadriceps Setting exercise helps to strengthen the quadriceps muscle (the big muscle on the front of the thigh), an important stabilizer of the knee.
Straight Leg Raise also helps to strengthen the quadriceps muscle.
When you have knee OA, the hamstring muscles (the muscles that run along the back of your thigh to your knee) tend to get tight. Hamstring Stretch helps to stretch the hamstring muscles, improving the range of motion of your knee and helping you feel more flexible.
Gluteus Strengthening exercise will help you strengthen the gluteus muscles (the large muscles at the back of your hip), aiding in trunk control, leg stability and balance while you stand and walk.
Calf Stretch exercise will help your lower leg and ankle stay flexible, helping to improve your balance and the way you walk.
Lisa Konstantellis, MSPT
Joint Mobility Center, Hospital for Special Surgery