Arthritis in the knee

Dear Tracie,  My father has arthritis in both of his knees. He is scheduled to have a knee replacement in a few months.  What can he do to survive until surgery? Natasha

Hello Natasha,

The critical tasks for him at this stage are: moving to lubricate his knees, flexibility/mobility training and strengthening his knee and hip stabilizers.  We often have clients limp into the studio with a cane and then walk out twirling that same cane because they did a dynamic warmup, flexibility and mobility training.

‘If you don’t use it, you will lose it’ or ‘Get up and get moving’ are old quotes that ring true.  You should do exercises that work all the standard actions: squat, lunge, travel forward [sagittal plane], travel laterally [frontal plane] and rotation at the hip.

The Centre for Disease Control [CDC] stats from 2010-2012 U.S. National survey were, ’22.7% (52.5 million) of adults reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with significantly higher age-adjusted prevalence in women (23.9%) than in men (18.6%). Arthritis prevalence increased with age.  By the year 2040, an estimated 78 million (26% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.’ Overweight adults are at a much greater risk of having arthritis and so eating a healthy diet and losing weight can sometimes be a very good change to consider additional to exercise conditioning.

Taking time to strengthen your core and legs prior to surgery is a critical step that makes the recovery process so much easier.  Seek help from a professional if you are unsure of what to do.

I suggest that strength & stretch routine be performed daily in the morning to loosen up for the rest of the day.  Here is an introductory set that he can use.

Arthritis warmup/strength set:

Seated leg extensions [one leg at a time] x20 reps each

Mini bench squats [Sitting down and standing up from a chair] x20

Walk 20m forward and 20 m in reverse [3 sets]

Shuffle squat to the side x10 and then return shuffle squat

Side lying hip abduction [leg lifts]  x20 reps each side

Repeat set

Arthritis ROM set:

Anterior chain lunge stretch

Calf stretch

Posterior chain leg up stretch

Gluteal stretch [lie flat and hug one knee in towards chest]

Chest stretch [to correct a hunched forward posture that loads your knees]

*Exhale slowly into each stretch

It is important that you stretch warm muscles not cold ones.  Next week I will cover knee and hip stabilization exercises for arthritis.  If unable to walk, march in a seated position instead and decrease ROM in squats.

Every person is different and the way arthritis presents can vary.   It is important to listen to your body and work gently never forcing a stretch.  Breath through the stretches and relax your face, neck and shoulders.

What will you conquer in Summer 2016?    Set your fitness goals & conquer them

Kind regards, Tracie

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