4 Stretches for Arthritis of the Hip and Knee

Arthritis, according to the World Health Organization, is the single most common cause of disability in adults 60 years and older.  Osteoarthritis is a long-term chronic disease characterized by the deterioration of cartilage lining your joints.  This results in your bones rubbing together creating stiffness, pain, and impaired movement.  Osteoarthritis most commonly affects your knees, spine, and hip joints.  This article is for people suffering with hip or knee arthritis.

While arthritis is related to ageing, it is also associated with a variety of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.  Modifiable risk factors you can control include your body weight, exercise, nutrition, bone density, and trauma.  Exercise is one of the primary treatments for arthritis.  However, the most beneficial type and amount of exercise is up for some debate.  This article discusses the benefits of flexibility exercises and stretching for arthritis.  We have also included several helpful stretches for you to start with today.

Stretching is a Proven Treatment for Arthritis of the Hips and Knees

When we look at the entire body of research done on arthritis it is clear that exercise is beneficial.  The type of exercise you choose to perform matters less than how consistent you are.  A 2019 review of 103 different clinical trials found 4 different types of exercise to be beneficial for people with hip and knee arthritis.  These were aerobics, mind-body exercise (yoga or tai chi), strength training, and stretching.  A regular stretching routine was proven to be beneficial for decreasing pain and improving function and quality of life.

Again, the key is to be consistent.  Random or infrequent stretching will offer you little benefit.  The 4 stretches shown in this article are easy to perform in your own home.  They require little, if any, equipment.  Prolonged gentle stretching is better than an aggressive approach. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2 to 3 repetitions.  And do them daily!

Chair Hamstring Stretch

Sit towards the edge of a chair.  Extend one of your legs in front of you.  Reach straight ahead with both hands.  Be sure to keep your chest up and back straight.  You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your thigh or behind your knee.  Don’t bounce or hold your breath.  Maintain each stretch for 30 seconds.  Perform 2 to 3 stretches on both sides each day.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Stand with a chair placed behind you.  Rest one foot up on the chair so your knee is bent.  Your knee is aligned directly below your hip. Stand tall. Be sure to keep your chest up and back straight.  You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your thigh above your knee.  Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.  Perform 2 to 3 stretches on both sides each day.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Place a pillow or airex pad under one of your knees.  Your other foot is positioned in front of your body.  Tuck your hips and engage your abdominal muscles.  Stay tall.  Gently lunge forward.  Be sure to keep your chest up and back straight.  You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your thigh or hip.  Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.  Perform 2 to 3 stretches each day.

Standing Calf Stretch

Stand with one foot back.  Your heel remains in contact with the floor as you lean towards the wall or a counter.  Your knee remains straight to stretch the larger gastrocnemius muscle.  Slightly bend the knee to stretch your deeper soleus muscle.  It is important to stretch both muscles.  Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2 to 3 repetitions on each side. 

Arthritis: Start Stretching Today

You can take control of your hip and knee arthritis. You don’t have to suffer.  These 4 stretches for arthritis you can easily perform in your home.  They are ideal for decreasing your pain and improving your mobility.  Most people can perform these stretches without considerable pain or difficulty.  The hip flexor stretch may require some modifications if you experience difficulty kneeling.  If you need some help give us a call.  We are here for you.  Many people do better when they perform their home stretches supplemented with manual therapy performed by your physical therapist.


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