Exercising for osteoarthritis – how to do it

Last modified: December 11, 2019

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that primarily affects the cartilage in the joints negatively. This is due to an imbalance between the amount of cartilage that is built up and the amount that is worn out. The cartilage breaks down faster than it can be created. This results in stiff and painful joints. There is still no cure. However, it is possible to treat the disease and reduce the symptoms. Many people can return to a normal life without joint pain with the help of specially designed exercises for osteoarthritis.

Read more about osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis treatment in brief

There is currently no medicine to cure osteoarthritis. However, there are treatment options that can mitigate the discomfort. The treatment that is recommended by both physicians and physiotherapists is training and exercise. This is also what has been shown to have the best effect on pain and mobility in several extensive, international studies. It is important that the training is performed correctly in the exercises are customized for the individual. This helps to avoid incorrect strain on the affected joint.

In those cases where it is painful to exercise, pain-relieving medications may be necessary. Tablets within the category of NSAID medications, so-called anti-inflammatory drugs, is what are primarily used. This includes, for example, Voltaren, Ipren and Diklofenak. Even though these medications are not harmful, it is always important to speak with a physician before starting treatment.

Prosthetic surgery can be a last resort and is used primarily for osteoarthritis in the knees or hip. However, this is only done if the basic treatment, in the form of exercise, weight loss and education, has not produced the desired results.

What is exercise and training might or osteoarthritis?

After a diagnosis of osteoarthritis has been given by a physician or physiotherapist, treatment can begin. The basic treatment that all osteoarthritis patients should undergo involves customized exercises, education and weight control. This is the case regardless of the type of treatment that may become necessary later on, for example cortisone injections or prosthetic surgery.

The correct type of exercises, strengthen both cartilage and the muscles around the affected joint. The muscles can then help ease the strain on the joint, making it more stable. At the same time, new, better exertion patterns are established in order to avoid continued negative straining. These actions are the basic reason for why the disease develops, in other words a negative strain on the joint over a long period of time.

Straining your joints correctly

As you learn how the joints should be used during training, you also increase your understanding of exertion patterns that you use every day. This allows the affected person to also reduce the amount of negative strain that occurs daily. A person with pain in the knees, for example, can start to think about how they sit down or climb stairs. In this case, the knees must point straight ahead, in line with the toes, when they are bent. A physiotherapist can also help adjust these types of movements.

Strenuous exercise for osteoarthritis

Regardless of which type of training or everyday activities that are practiced, it is important to follow the instructions of the physiotherapist and to try to find the correct patterns of motion and not to overstrain the body. For example, exercising at a gym can be both effective and gentle on the joints, as long as it is performed correctly. This includes, for example, exercising with a rowing or stair-climbing machine in a way that is effective for both muscles, joints and overall fitness, while being gentle at the same time. The training machines make it easier to keep track of the patterns of motion. If you are unsure of how to use the equipment correctly, it is best to seek the assistance of a personal trainer.

Treatment at home with the Joint Academy

A person who has pain in their joints but is unable to visit a patient education program or physiotherapist, can perform training exercises using the Joint Academy app. This is a type of patient education program over your mobile phone, where each patient receives specific, customized exercises. The entire treatment is coordinated and monitored by a personal physiotherapist. All of the exercises can be performed at home without equipment.

Here is more information about weight loss with the help of exercise.