Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. While it can affect anyone, those who have suffered from previous joint injuries and people who overwork their joints are most likely to develop osteoarthritis, and it can hinder athletic performance and everyday life.
OA, or degenerative joint disease, is a breakdown of joint cartilage, which acts like a cushion where the joints meet, in order to help them move. When the cartilage breaks down, the bones start rubbing against each other other and that can cause further damage. People with osteoarthritis experience pain and stiffness because of this, especially after a period of inactivity (like sleeping).
Depending on the degree of damage to the knee joint, there are things you can do to manage knee pain. Therapy, medication, and long periods of inactivity or rest can help reduce the pain. However, the best thing you can do is to exercise.
Aging and being overweight are main causes for OA. Exercising speeds up your metabolism, thus slowing down the aging process and can help you maintain or reduce your weight, which puts extra stress and pressure on the joints. It also improves muscle strength and endurance, it promotes better blood flow and reduces pain. Even light exercise can help you remain active and lose excess weight.
Exercising will certainly make you feel better and reduce knee pain. Most OA patients experience pain right after they work out and that makes them quit. Don't give up! Exercising is great for joint pain management and there are things you can do to prevent pain. You can use therapy, painkillers, and knee braces in order to protect your joints, reduce pain and discomfort.
Knee support has come a long way for athletes who experience OA, and it is designed to improve their performance, reduce pain, speed up recovery, aid blood flow and much more. Plus, they are versatile and elastic knee sleeves, for example, can be worn all the time, not just when working out. That makes them a great aid in daily life! Knitted knee sleeves are another great example of compression garments that you can wear elegantly and benefit from pain relief.
How to Exercise with OA
Even if these exercises are easy, if you experience OA, check with your doctor before you start a physical activity program. Wear adequate gym equipment and knee sleeves in order to protect, stabilize and prevent pain in your joints. Don't go crazy with the weights and use light weights. Going for heavy weights will put the same unwanted pressure on your joints as excess body weight would. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind:
- Wear knee support
- Exercise at a slower pace
- Lift lighter weights
- Rest in between your sets
- Range-of-motion exercises keep you flexible
- Long and slow stretches keep your joints mobile
- Improve motion with targeted joint exercises
1. Wall Shoulder Girdle Stretch
- Stand with you back against a wall and place your feet away from it, slightly bending your hips and knees.
- Bend your elbows on the sides and put your forearms against the wall.
- Push your shoulders, arms and hands into the wall and slowly raise your arms as high as you can.
- Holding the push against the wall, lower your arms back to starting position.
- Repeat as many times as you want!
2. Step Lunge
- Place your hands on your hips or behind your neck and stand with feet shoulder width apart.
- Lunge forward with one leg and land on the heel or forefoot.
- Lower yourself by flexing your knee and hip until your other left is almost in contact with the floor.
- Return by fully extending your knee and hip.
- Switch sides and repeat!
3. Ab Crunch
- Lie supine on a flat surface with your lower legs elevated on a bench or higher surface. Place your hands behind your neck or head.
- Flex your waist and raise your upper torso. Keep your low back on the floor and only raise your torso as high as you can.
- Return until the back of your shoulder are in contact with the floor.
4. Lying Hamstring Stretch
- Lie on your back and lift up one knee. Grasp behind your thigh, near to your knee with both hands, and pull the knee to your chest.
- Extend your knee while keeping it close to your chest.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds and increase the hold period over time.
- Return, switch sides, and repeat!
Remember, the most recommended treatment for OA is exercise! Pain occurs only after long periods of rest. That is why a lot of people who suffer from OA experience pain and stiffness when they wake up, because sleeping is a long period of rest. Staying active is the key to happiness, and it is also the remedy for joint pain. Make sure you maintain a healthy weight and only lift light weights to ensure maximized results!
There is no reason to be discouraged if you experience knee pain and give up your athletic performances. Working out is still a healthy thing to do and if you take proper care of your knees, pay attention to your speed, equipment and weight, you will have a pain-free training session and overall, pain-free life!
So, are you convinced to return to the gym? Working out has many added benefits other than knee pain relief. Your quality of life will improve, your body will become stronger, and your happy hormones will be activated. And a happy mood is all you (k)need to continue your athletic activities!
Check with your doctor or physician first! The information contained in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. All of our content, including images, graphics, text available in this article is for general information purposes only. Mava Sports makes no representations and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information available in this article, and such information is subject to change without notice. We encourage you to verify and confirm any information you obtained from this article with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your doctor and physician. Do not disregard any professional medical advice because of something you have read in or accessed through this article.