Learn About Arthritis / Arthritis Treatments
Exercise is an integral part of treating arthritis. Exercise by itself will not wear out your joints. Activities such as walking, swimming, or gardening can assist in keeping your bones strong and your joints limber. Always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
Joint swelling and pain can make muscles weak, which is a problem with arthritis. Strong muscles help absorb shock, support joints, and protect you from injuries. Weak muscles in the legs are linked with increased disability from osteoarthritis. Research has also shown that strengthening exercises in the hip, knee and ankle lead to improved balance and independence. Your physician and physical therapist can help you develop a strengthening program, if appropriate.
Flexibility is necessary for comfortable movement during exercise and daily activities. Joint motion also helps lubricate your joints and nourish your cartilage. Generally, stretching is tolerated on a daily basis and is an excellent form of relaxation. Your physician can help you develop a stretching program, if appropriate.
Aquatic therapy is an excellent form of exercise for people managing arthritis and pain. The water's buoyancy protects your joints from impact injury. The water also resists movement, which is helpful for strengthening. Ask your doctor for information on aquatic classes near you.
Walking is an excellent endurance exercise for almost anyone, including those with arthritis. Check with your physician to obtain any precautions or guidelines.
How much exercise is too much?
If you note increased joint swelling, decreased joint motion, unusual or persistent fatigue, or continuing pain, you may be exercising too much. You should expect some muscle soreness, especially if you are just beginning your program or have changed exercises. Joint pain should not last more than several hours after exercise.
- Seek help from a healthcare professional to assist you in setting up an individualized program.
- Make a plan! Write it down! Set goals!
- Exercise at the same time each day so it becomes part of your routine.
- Find an exercise "buddy".
- Look for an appropriate exercise class.
- Stay in the habit of doing some exercise each day. On days when you have more pain, make an effort even if you just do some gentle stretching.
- Vary your exercise routine; rotate your exercises.
- Evaluate your progress and enjoy your success.
Biomet is a manufacturer of orthopedic implants and does not practice medicine.
This information was prepared in conjunction with a licensed physician and is presented as general information only. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine what treatment is appropriate. Always ask your doctor if you have any questions regarding your particular condition or treatment options.