Exercises for Arthritis of the Knee

Exercises and Explanations are from WebMD (link)


Hamstring Stretch

Warm up with a five-minute walk. Then, stretch. Lie down. Loop a bed sheet around your right foot. Use sheet to help pull and stretch leg up. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat twice, then switch legs.


Calf Stretch

Stretching exercises loosen muscles, improve flexibility, and help prevent pain and injury.

Use a chair for balance. Bend your right leg. Step back with left leg, slowly straightening it behind you. Press left heel towards the floor. Feel the stretch in your back leg.

For more of a stretch: Lean forward, bending the right knee deeper. Don’t let the right knee go past your toes. Hold for 20 seconds. Do twice, then switch legs.


Straight Leg Raise

To try this leg strengthening move, lie on the floor. Prop your back up on your elbows. Bend your left knee, keeping foot on floor. Keep the right leg straight, toes pointed up. Tighten thigh muscles of your right leg. Slowly and smoothly use your thigh muscles — not your back — to raise your leg.

Pause, as seen above, for five seconds. With thigh still tight, slowly lower leg to ground. Relax. Repeat 10 times. Rest. Do another 10; then switch legs.


Seated Hip March

This move can strengthen hips and thigh muscles to help with daily activities, such as walking or rising from a chair.

Sit up straight in chair. Slightly kick back your left foot but keep toes on the floor. Lift your right foot off the floor, keeping knee bent. Hold right leg in the air five seconds. Slowly lower your foot to the ground. Repeat 10 times. Rest and do another 10, then switch legs. Too hard? Use your hands to help raise your leg.


Pillow Squeeze

This move helps strengthen the inside of your legs to help support your knee. Lie on your back, both knees bent. Place a pillow between knees.

Squeeze knees together, squishing pillow between them. Hold for five seconds. Relax. Repeat 10 times. Rest, then do another set of 10.


Heel Raise

Hold back of chair for support. Stand straight and tall. Lift heels off ground and rise up on toes of both feet. Hold for five seconds. Slowly lower both heels to ground. Repeat 10 times. Rest. Do another 10.

Too hard? Do the same exercise, only sitting in a chair.


Side Leg Raise

Hold back of chair for balance. Place your weight on left leg. Lift right leg out to the side. Keep right leg straight and outer leg muscles tensed. Don’t slouch. Lower right leg and relax. Repeat 10 times. Rest. Do another 10, then repeat with left leg.


Sit to Stand

Practice this move to make standing easier. Place two pillows on chair. Sit on top, with your back straight, feet flat on floor (see left). Use your leg muscles to slowly and smoothly stand up tall. Then, slowly lower yourself back down to sitting. Be sure your bent knees don’t move forward of your toes. Try with arms crossed or loose to your side.


One Leg Balance

Your goal is to do this hands-free. Steady yourself on a chair, if needed. First, shift your body weight to one leg but do not lock your knee straight. Slowly raise the other foot off the ground, balancing on your standing leg. Hold for 20 seconds. Lower raised foot to the ground. Do twice, then switch legs. This move helps when getting out of cars or bending.


Step Ups

This move helps strengthen your legs for climbing stairs. Face a stable step, both feet on the ground. Step up with your left foot. Follow with your right foot. Stand on top, tall and with both feet flat. Climb down in reverse: right foot down first, then left. Do 10 times. Rest, then repeat another 10 times. Then repeat, starting with right leg first. Too hard? Use a railing, wall, or lamppost for balance. Or try a lower step.

“Exercises for OA of the Knee.” WebMD. n.p, 11 Oct. 2011.

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