Managing arthritic pain in your knees and hips can be a challenge. Stiffness and pain may radiate throughout these areas, making you reluctant to move around or participate in the activities you enjoy. But surprisingly, exercise plays a vital role in managing arthritic knee and hip pain.
Physical activity keeps the muscles strong, reduces bone loss, and can even help manage joint pain and swelling. So, let’s take a closer look! In this article, we’ll explore how regular exercise can help alleviate arthritic pain in the knees and hips.
Defining Knee and Hip Arthritis
Several types of arthritis can plague the hip and knee joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and psoriatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type affecting the knees and hips, is a widespread joint disease affecting an estimated 240 million people worldwide. It often occurs due to joint wear and tear from years of use, making it a widespread condition among older individuals.
This particular type of arthritis targets the cartilage in the joints, causing it to become stiff, less elastic, and more susceptible to damage. The cartilage acts as a firm, slippery padding between the bones, allowing the joints to move smoothly. When it deteriorates and wears down, bone may rub on bone, causing pain.
The Connection Between Knee and Hip Pain
Knee and hip pain often go hand-in-hand due to structural and functional connections. The iliotibial band extends through the leg, connecting the muscles from the knee to the hip. Because of this connection, addressing pain in these areas can be complex, so it’s essential to consider both aspects.
Given their proximity, arthritic symptoms in the knee and hip often coincide. Early detection, physiotherapy, and low-impact exercises are often essential to manage pain. In some cases, medical intervention might be necessary, including NSAIDs or corticosteroid injections.
The Importance of Exercise for Knee and Hip Arthritis
Various studies display the importance of exercise in knee and hip arthritic pain management. But why is exercise a first-choice management strategy for knee and hip arthritis?
It covers multiple bases, making it integral to treating arthritis symptoms. Regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles around the affected joint and improves flexibility and balance. The physical activity keeps you limber, staving off pain and stiffness associated with limited movement.
It further helps decrease bone loss and can even assist in controlling joint pain and swelling. On top of that, routine activity refreshes lubrication to the cartilage in the affected joint, thus reducing stiffness and pain associated with arthritis.
The GLA:D programme, or Good Life with osteoArthritis: Denmark, is designed to educate individuals with knee or hip osteoarthritis symptoms on the importance of exercise. This may reduce the need for hip or knee replacement surgery.
Researchers working on the programme developed an exercise regime to help manage symptoms, and the results were promising. Participants in this programme experienced the following improvements:
- 36% average reduction in pain
- Reduced analgesic consumption
- Reduction in the perceived need for surgery
- Meaningful progress in joint confidence
The programme features three key elements: a course for physiotherapists, eight weeks of patient education and exercise, and the national GLA:D registry with data. The exercise programme features three sessions of education across two weeks and 12 sessions of guided neuromuscular exercise spanning six weeks with two sessions per week.
Reap the Benefits of Exercise for Knee and Hip Arthritis with Physiotherapy
Help from a skilled physiotherapist and or Exercise Physiologist can ensure your exercise routine works within your limits and is suitable for your specific needs. Our experienced physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologist at Turramurra Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy are ready to help you overcome your pain and get back to what you love. Contact us to schedule your appointment today and discover the power of exercise for treating knee and hip arthritis symptoms!