Osteoarthritis

“ use  it  or lose it  “  is  a useful adage  to remember  for  osteoarthritis  especially of weight  bearing  joints.

Weight  reduction of   5% in  20  weeks  is a  worthwhile  goal to aspire  to with  real benefits remembering that for every 1 kgm  weight loss  there is a 4kgm reduction in pressure  on the major  weight  bearing  joints of the leg  like the knee.

Regular Exercise   reduces  pain and maintains or  improves  joint function. Balance training  reduces   the  likelihood  of falls  and  enhances  joint movement.

Active  aerobic  exercise  should be  done  for   30 mins / day – most  days at a level that  makes you breathe  hard  but  still able to speak about 7 words at  a time. Walking  is  very easy  especially if done as part of  a lunch break  or  part  of the daily commuting walking to transport  or the car park. 3 x  10 min burst of  intense  exercise have also  been found to be  of similar benefit

 

Strengthening exercises should be done at least  3 x /week involving  core strength exercise , quadriceps hamstrings  hip abductors and calf muscles. Therabands  or light weights are  useful. Exercises to consider – standing leg  side  raises; sit to stand from chair ( no hands); calf raises  ( tip toes );  one  or  two step up and down – facing stairs  , side steps –  face  left and face right, have support  rail   or bannister next to the step for safety. Straight leg  raises and  knee  straightening when seated.

 

Flexibility exercises at  least  3 x/week for  at least the knee  and hip as well as the  back involving  stretches  and  rotations for  15-30 seconds  repeated  3-4 times  at least  3 x/week.  Quadriceps ,  hamstrings , hip flexors and abductor stretches

 

Water  based  exercise 2  x  /week for  30 mins  is a valuable  addition because  of  constant resistance, the  soothing  effect on  joints, the  improvement  Water aerobic  or  exercise  classes are a useful  adjunct. Consider  walking in  above  waist  height  water  , swimming ,  bicycling    action , star   jumps  and  lunges  also the  use  of   resistance   equipment  like  noodles  paddles   and  kickboards.

Ask  your  doctor , physiotherapist  or   trainer  for advice.