90% of us will have some form of osteoarthritic or degenerative joint change by the time we turn 40. One of the most common joints affected is the knee and can result in a great deal of functional loss.
Common areas of pain in the knee are at the front of the knee, inner portion of the knee and the rear of the knee joint. Common aggravating factors for knee arthritis include difficulty squatting, ascend/descending stairs, and sitting for prolonged periods.
Treatment techniques that have been found to be useful in managing the pain include physiotherapy manual techniques, ice on acute swelling, heat for stiffness, paracetamol, NSAIDS, hydrotherapy, activity modification and weight-loss.
Below are some simple exercises to help strengthen areas to help these forms of arthritic knee pain.
- Bridging – lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent up. Lift your bottom off the floor. Repeat 30 times. If you have pain in your lower back whilst doing this exercise then do not lift your bottom as far. If you find the exercise easy perform using one leg only with the other leg in the air.
- Clamshell – lying on your side with your knees bent up. Keeping your feet together and make sure you do not move at your pelvis and stay on your side. Lift your upper knee towards the ceiling, like a book opening. Repeat 30 times.
- Straight leg raise – lying on your back straighten your knee as hard as you can. Keeping your knee straight, lift your leg about 20cm or 10 inches. Repeat 30 times.
- Mini squats – stand in front of a chair. Imagine you are sitting down and slowly lower yourself towards the chair. Only lower about 1/3 of the way and then return to straight. Repeat 30 times. This exercise is the most likely exercise to aggravate your pain. Only squat to a depth that is pain free. Do not go further than the first point of pain.
- Calf raises – standing up, slowly lift your heels off the ground raising up onto your toes. Lower back to the ground. Repeat 30 times.
If you find the exercise is too easy, you can make it harder by increasing the number of repetitions.
If you have any form of giving way in your knee or swelling you should discuss with your doctor or health professional before beginning these exercises. If you have pain whilst performing or after completing the exercises then stop and consult your physiotherapist.