Doctors diagnose thousands of people with arthritis every year. Arthritis is the damage, wear and tear of the cartilage in the joints. The condition can even damage the bone. There is increased friction when using the joint, bringing pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Arthritis comes in many forms and can affect almost any joint but knee arthritis is particularly concerning. Knee pain can reduce overall movement, leading to more severe symptoms.
Stay Active Safely
The knees help with the simplest movements like walking to advanced activities such as running and jumping. People with active lifestyles take the news of knee arthritis particularly hard. Is that active lifestyle over? Unfortunately, knee arthritis is here to stay, but that does not mean sports, exercise, and other activities should be shelved. Keeping an active lifestyle can be a good thing. These 5 steps can help anyone with knee arthritis make the best of the condition.
1. Get your doctor involved
Without a doubt, staying active is helpful for people with knee arthritis. However, there should be deliberate practice. Start by speaking with a doctor or pain management specialist first. The doctor can advise the degree of damage and confirm the best activities possible. By working with the doctor, active people can develop a game plan that involves movement, physical therapy, and medication. That way, the patient will be able to find triggers and address the pain quickly.
2. Don’t stop moving
There is a common misconception that knee arthritis means that decreasing movement is good for the joint. Studies show that becoming sedentary has the opposite effect. Reducing activity increases the pain over time and can lead to comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Staying active strengthens the muscles and tissue around the knee. The added support removes some of the dependency on the joint for movement. Staying busy allows people with knee arthritis to keep living an active lifestyle.
3. Choose suitable activities for your condition
Yes, staying active can help the joint with pain reduction and flexibility. But as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Knee arthritis means that three is a strain on the joint when performing certain activities. For instance, running several miles a few days a week may be out of the question. Gauge the pain and adjust accordingly. Move to activities like swimming which can improve body composition but brings less stress on the joints.
4. Don’t forget to stretch
With knee arthritis, stretching becomes more crucial than ever before. Some people with active lifestyles tend to start activities without warming up. This behavior may be possible at a younger age, but a lack of pre-exercise stretching can be dangerous over time. The extension ensures the muscles and ligaments around the knee are loose and improves the range of motion. There is also a reduced chance of injury or flare-ups.
5. Know your body
Active lifestyles are still possible with arthritis. However, there will need to be some compromise. Even if the activity feels good when exercising or playing sports, there may be additional stress on the joints. Active people will need to identify new limits and adjust accordingly. Maybe this means reducing the running distance from 4 miles to 2 miles. Stop and rest. Reduce the output. These changes can make a world of difference.
Don’t let arthritis hold you back
Sometimes, there is a disconnect between mind and body. Knee arthritis can be painful, but being unable to stay active could be much more painful. Luckily, there are still ways to lead an active lifestyle with knee pain. Know the triggers, adjust the exercises, and most of all, don’t stop moving. Speak with an orthopedic surgeon or pain specialist about advanced treatment options if these adjustments fail.