Is Exercise Harmful for Hip & Knee Arthritis?

The simple answer is NO, exercise has been proven to be safe and will help to improve pain and quality of life. However, we realise that this is often confusing as historically, people have been advised to rest and “put your feet up” when complaining of hip and knee joint pain.

So here are some of the myths around exercise and joint pain addressed…

‘Exercise will cause wear and tear’

Our joints need exercise and movement to stimulate repair in the joint and keep the musculature around them strong therefore exercise is recommended to improve joint pain. Studies show that exercise has a more long term benefit than medications in patients with hip and knee joint pain.

‘Pain is harmful’

Damage seen on X-rays and MRIs is actually poorly related to levels of pain reported in patients. Pain is actually our bodies response to what it perceives as a threat or danger and can be influenced by poor sleep, stress and fear. Therefore some discomfort (monitored by your physio) will not make the joint worse.

‘The pain will go away if I reduce my activities’

Decreasing activities, particularly those that you enjoy can often cause people to put on weight which is a risk factor for arthritis and increased pain. Reduction in exercise can also lead to the increase of other chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Exercise is also known to release endorphins which help to keep us happy.

‘Avoid exercising the joint that is sore’

As discussed loading helps to stimulate joint repair therefore it is important that your exercises should be targeted appropriately to the affected joint as well as the surrounding joints. Exercises should include mobility, strengthening and neuromuscular conditioning to ensure stability when using the limb.

Arthritis affects 2.2million Australians and costs the health systems 2.1 billion per year, mainly due to surgical interventions. These can help the right people but a completed Physiotherapist led exercise program has found to be the most effective first line of treatment and in some cases can prevent the need for any surgery altogether.

Here at Total Physiotherapy our practitioners want to keep you strong and active and are pleased to offer the GLA:D program designed specifically for people of all ages with hip and knee joint pain. We offer assessments and deliver exercise classes and programs tailored specifically to your needs aimed at keep you moving, decrease pain and improve quality of life.

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