Can I Exercise with Arthritis?

Arthritis Knee


Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of exercising with arthritis.

Patients often mention that they tend to rest and steer clear of exercising whenever they experience pain arthritis pain.

What worries me even more, is that many people whom I talk to believe that they have no control over their arthritis. Consequently avoiding exercise altogether in hopes that it won’t get worse.

In Fact, When I First Meet With Patients Suffering From Arthritis Pain They Will Almost Always Say,

“well It’s Arthritis, And You Can’t Do Anything About That, Right?”.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is extremely common, yet not well understood. Arthritis refers to a joint pain in which the cartilage surface wears down over time. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.

Arthritis Diagram

Cartilage is a crucial part of your joints, acting as a shock absorber between your bones whenever you move. The downfall, and the main reason why arthritis is so common, is that cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply like other tissues do. This means that once cartilage is damaged, it cannot heal.

Although it’s true that you are unable to change the condition of the cartilage of your joints, you CAN restrict the progression of degeneration.

And what’s the only way to do that?

Can you slow down Arthritis?

One important aspect of exercise is that it keeps you up and moving. This is essential to managing a condition such as arthritis.

What allows your joints to move freely and become well-nourished is a liquid known as synovial fluid. If your joints aren’t constantly moving their full distance, the synovial fluid isn’t able to lubricate the joints. Which causes them to wear down more quickly.

Bonus tip: A technique that helps with knee movement: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place a plastic bag under one foot and slide your foot up and down, bending at the knee. Try this with each leg, 10 times and 3 sets each, a couple of times a day.

Movement isn’t the only thing necessary to help with arthritis.

Strength is a significant factor as well, and the stronger the muscles are surrounding the joint, the more stable you are joint will be. In turn, makes it less likely for the join to degenerate.

As physical therapists, we use a combination of specific massage, stretches, joint mobilizations, and other manual techniques to facilitate the return of the joints’ normal function and movement.

Watch this video to learn the myths about exercising with arthritis. Click here.

What exercise is good for people with arthritis?

Swimming is a great method of exercise due to the fact that it keeps your joints moving and your heart rate up, all while taking mass amounts of stress off of your joints.

If you have osteoporosis as well (a condition where the bones become fragile due to loss of tissue), weight-bearing activities are significant in maintaining bone density.

So when it comes to arthritis, don’t give up! There is plenty that can be done to make certain your joints are kept in great condition so you’re able to do the things you enjoy for as long as possible.

If you have any more questions concerning arthritis and how to manage conditions like it, don’t hesitate to contact Nick Hunter or our Physical Therapist Assistant.

And if you have any other concerns about knee pain, take a look at any of our other blogs about knee pain

You can also download our FREE Knee pain Report…

Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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