EXERCISES FOR ARTHRITIS OF THE KNEE
- Gentle joint rotation: Circle the knee joint gently. Firmly clasp your hands under your leg. Allow the lower leg to relax completely. Gently let the lower leg swing, then let it circle several times in each direction. See more below under seated knee circles.
- Stretch the muscles that pain has tightened: Stretch the back of the knee with a hamstring stretch and then stretch the top of the knee by pulling your knee into your chest as you are sitting.
- Exercise the adjacent joints: Do gentle ankle and hip circles.
- Strengthen the joint's stabilizer muscles: Strengthen the muscles that surround the knee joint itself.
- Use passive instead of aggressive exercise to increase strength: Do not use large movements to bend and straighten your knee. So deep knee bends for example should not be attempted. Strengthen your knee using small or isometric exercise.
- Increase core strength to reduce joint stress: The stronger your abdominal, glutes and pelvic floor muscles, the less weight placed on your knees. With less weight on the knee joint there is less inflammation and pain. Improved glute strength in particular helps relieve knee pain when standing.
Short cut to knee health: The 2 best knee exercises in the world
* Seated knee circles: Place both hands stacked, one on top of the other, under one thigh. (Put one hand on the seat of your chair, place the other on top of the first and lay your thigh down on top of your hands.) Let your foot be totally relaxed. Allow the lower leg to gently circle in each direction 4 times. If your knee is sore, make the circles small. Concentrate on relaxing the knee joint itself. If it hurts, this is a difficult thing to accomplish. Persevere. Make the circles smaller. Use less effort. Allow your lower leg and foot to be like a ragdoll. If it hurts your hands, use a rolled up towel under your leg instead.
Standing knee circles: Have something to hold onto nearby. Stand with your feet fairly close together. The closer together your feet are the more challenging the exercise is. Place both hands on your knees or place one hand on one knee while you hold on to something else with the other. Circle your knees 4 times in each direction.
It used to take one student 40 seconds of excruciating pain to straighten her knee in the morning. She began doing the seated knee circle exercise described above before getting up in the morning. Immediately she had NO PAIN upon standing! This is one of the techniques used throughout the Building Better Balance DVDs.