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A Step Into Healthier Knees

According to a study on Arthritis & Rheumatology, walking for exercise will scale back new frequent knee pain among individuals aged fifty and older diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis. Additionally, findings from the study indicate that walking for exercise is also an efficient treatment to slow the harm to the joints.

Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, a renowned professor, acknowledged that until the above findings on walking for exercise, there were no sufficient exercises to help relieve pain and reduce damage in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Every year, the Osteoarthritis Initiative conducts an observational study during which participants report how often they walk for exercise and the duration of their walk. For participants aged 50 and above, those who walked ten times or more for exercise reported 40% fewer chances of complaints of knee pains than the non-walkers. In this research, walkers refer to the people who reported instances of walking for exercise, while non-walkers are those who did not walk.

Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo additionally noted that those findings would come in handy for patients who are already suffering from osteoarthritis but do not experience any pain in their knee joints. Grace Lo also works with the Center for Innovations in Quality, Safety, and Effectiveness as an investigator at the VA and Baylor. The study supports the likelihood that walking for exercise will facilitate forestalling the onset of daily knee pain. It would also impede the worsening of injury within the joint from degenerative arthritis.

Dr. Grace Lo further states that walking for exercise has additional health benefits such as a lower risk of obesity, better cardiovascular health, and reduced chances of getting some cancers and diabetes. These health benefits are the main driving reason the Center for Disease Control recommends physical activities and exercises. They were published for the first time in 2008 and then updated ten years later in 2018. Walking for exercise training may be a free activity with stripped-down facet effects, in contrast to medications, which regularly go for a considerable price and risk giving you side effects.

Dr. Lo advises people suffering from osteoarthritis to walk for exercise, especially if they do not experience daily knee pain. If you have suffered from daily knee pain, there might still be some benefits, especially if you have the kind of arthritis that makes you bow-legged.

Exercises that help reduce knee pain

Suffering from knee pain can put a halt on your favorite activities, whether you are a frequent walker, an athlete, or a weekend warrior. According to statistics by Cleveland Clinic, knee pain is a common complaint, with over 18 million people getting medical attention for it annually. Some of the most common knee issues arise from meniscus tears, osteoarthritis, bursitis, overuse, sprained knee ligaments, and tendinitis.

It may sound counterintuitive, but when you have knee pains, it is not advisable to keep still. Failing to move your injured knee could make it stiffen and aggravate the pain, stopping you from doing what you love most. Doing gentle stretches and exercises strengthens your muscles and, in turn, reduces the effect of any strains on the knee. You will find it easier to move your knee joints with stronger muscles. However, it would be best if you talked to your doctor before starting the exercises, so they advise you on which ones are safe enough for you. There are several strengthening exercises and stretches you can perform without a medic’s supervision. Below are some of the best exercises for treating your knee pain:

Quadriceps stretch

This stretch focuses on your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of your thighs. This move can help improve the flexibility of your hip flexors and quadriceps. To perform this exercise, stand upright next to a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart, then bend your knee to have your foot move up towards the glutes. Next, grab your ankle and move it towards the glutes, hold for 30 seconds, return to the original position, and repeat on the second leg.

Half squat

Half squats help strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps without stressing your knees. To perform this exercise, stand in a standing squat position with your hands in front of you or on your hips. Squat slowly or about 10 inches to achieve a half-squat, pause for some seconds, and push your body back up through your heels. Do several sets of repetitions as your body can handle.

Calf raises

This exercise is relatively easy and helps strengthen your calf muscles and the back of your lower legs. Start in a standing position with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Lift your heels from the floor and stand on the balls of your feet. Next, lower back your feet to your original standing position slowly and repeat. Remember to control your muscles for the exercise to be effective.

Leg extensions

This exercise helps strengthen your quadriceps by removing pressure from your knees. To do this exercise:

  • Sit upright on a chair, and place your feet on the floor, flat and about hip-width apart.
  • While looking straight in front of you, contract your thigh muscles and raise one leg as high as possible without moving your buttocks.
  • Pause for a while and return to the original position.
  • Do the same for the other leg and do about ten repetitions for each foot.

Straight leg raises

For the straight leg raise, you might need a mat or piece of cloth. Lie down on your back, with one leg straight and the other bent, with the heel lying flat on the floor. Contract the quadriceps of the straight leg, then lift it slowly until it reaches the height of your bent knee. Pause on that position for five seconds, then lower it to the initial position. Do about 10 repetitions, switch the positions of your knees, and do the same for the other leg. You can do two to three sets depending on your body strength.

Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220608161402.htm
https://www.healthline.com/health/exercises-for-knee-pain