Training for osteoarthritis

Last modified: December 11, 2019

If you are suffering from osteoarthritis, it can be somewhat of a challenge to maintain an active lifestyle. In many cases, it is easy to interpret pain and discomfort as a sign that you should stop the physical activity you are doing. Many people will instinctively avoid straining a tender joint as much as possible. But as long as the pain is at an acceptable level, customized training and osteoarthritis exercises are recommended as a form of treatment. In many cases, it can also be helpful to take pain-relieving medications such as Alvedon before a training session.

Supervised training exercises have proven to be the method that has the largest positive effect on joint diseases. Research has shown that individualized, guided training can help both prevent and relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Therefore, training and exercise is recommended as the basic treatment for osteoarthritis by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and 1177, i.e. the informational website from the county council.

Prescribed exercise for osteoarthritis

The advice that physicians provide for treating osteoarthritis primarily involve recommendations for training and exercise. Nowadays, this means actually writing out a prescription for physical activity, so-called FYSS. This emphasizes for the person affected by the disease how important it is that they strengthen their body. FYSS also means that they can get the training subsidized. Training and exercise means that the disease will be easier to live with over the long run. Training for osteoarthritis acts as a form of treatment.

There are several different types of simple exercise to try that don’t need to be difficult. Taking a walk, for example, can be a good option if you want to start slowly. Swimming, cycling, running and light strength training can have positive effects for both osteoarthritis as well as overall health.

For hip exercises for osteoarthritis, there are a number of good strength building exercises that can be recommended to increase mobility and strength. Knee bends, different types of stepping exercises, pelvic lifts and diagonal lifts with the opposite arm and leg are a few examples of training exercises. These exercises can be done with or without additional resistance depending on individual need and current physical condition.

Strong knees with osteoarthritis training

If you have osteoarthritis in the knees, there are several types of training exercises that can reduce the strain on the joint and reduce the pain in the long run. You can learn about specific training exercises for osteoarthritis at an arthritis patient education program or in digital form using the app Joint Academy. These are training exercises that are in compliance with the guidelines from the National Board of Health and Welfare. However, it is always recommended to speak with your physician or physiotherapist before creating a training program for osteoarthritis.

If you choose running as an exercise to strengthen the knee joints, it is very important that you have good form. Pain risks creating improper strain while running, which can lead to new problems, so it is beneficial to seek the help of someone who can watch your form. Combining running with other strength training exercises with a physical therapist or from a patient education center has a very good effect on osteoarthritis.

Difference between training for osteoarthritis and strenuous training

When it comes to training for osteoarthritis, the same applies as with all physical challenges – training sensibly, i.e. not too much and not too little. In the case of former elite athletes being affected by osteoarthritis, this can mean setting limits because the training may risk becoming too intensive. However, in many cases, the osteoarthritis may set limits on training on its own, particularly when the joint disease affects older people who have other problems to consider and may not be as active. If needed, training for osteoarthritis can be combined with pain-relieving medications to make it easier to perform the motion, regardless of the exercise the person is doing.

Read more about the digital treatment Joint Academy.