Along with consuming medicines and maintaining a balanced diet, performing exercises regularly has significantly proven to reduce knee pain amongst knee osteoarthritis patients.
The month of August falls right in the middle of monsoon and during this season, a lot of patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee face increased discomfort in their joints due to the rise in humidity and changes in barometric pressure in the environment. For Indians, however, August is a month of freedom as August 15th marks Independence Day. Here are a few exercises and treatments which can help you march forward in the fight against osteoarthritis of the knee (OAK) and get freedom from joint pain. Though knee pain due to osteoarthritis can hurt so much that you may not want to move, exercises such as walking can eventually make your knees feel better. There are also a number of simple treatments available which can help you alleviate pain and go about your daily activities.
Bad knees can make walking difficult, but it is suggested for maintaining your function and reducing symptoms. Walking forms a part of a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart and bones strong, and your joints functioning well. To stay healthy, you should get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. You can spread it out in 10 minute sessions of to avoid overexertion. To ensure that you have a comfortable walking experience, you can choose athletic shoes, use orthopedic inserts, walk on softer surfaces and slowly build up your walking pace. With excess weight being one of the major causes of osteoarthritis of the knee, walking can bring relief as it helps with weight loss that, in turn, lessens stress on joints and improves arthritis symptoms.
Two of the simplest but effective treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee are heat and cold treatments. Applying heat before walking and cold after walking can significantly reduce the pain and swelling due to exercise.
Heat enhances circulation to joints and muscles, increasing the nutrition that they receive. Heat treatments, such as heating pads or warm baths, are recommended for soothing stiff joints and tired muscles. A warm shower or bath can help ease morning stiffness. You can also use a heating pad for up to 20 minutes at a time.
Cold therapy is suited for acute pain as it slows circulation and reduces swelling by restricting blood vessels. It also dulls pain by numbing the nerve endings. You can give your joint an ice bath by submerging it in a container of ice and water. Be careful not to apply cold treatment for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Physical therapy can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of knee osteoarthritis, and also improve function of the knee joint. It can make it easier to perform actions like walking, bending, kneeling, squatting and sitting. Combining manual physical therapy and supervised exercise has functional benefits for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and may delay or prevent the need for surgery. The two main types of physical therapy - passive and active treatments - can help make OAK more manageable. With passive treatments, most of the work is done by the physical therapist for e.g. - massage, acupuncture therapy. With active treatments, you do more of the work, such as at-home isometric exercises.
Occupational therapy helps people with osteoarthritis of the knee achieve more mobility in their day to day life. An occupational therapist can help OAK patients maximize their ability to participate in activities safely and enhance their quality of life. The plan given by the therapist could include custom-fitting splints or supports that can ease stress on painful joints and help prevent further deformity. Occupational therapists can also teach OAK patiens how to protect their joints by performing tasks in different ways than they’re used to, such as using both hands while getting up from their seats or using an assistive device for walking.
Dedicating a small part of your day to engage in the activities mentioned above can make a big difference in your daily life by reducing pain and swelling due to knee osteoarthritis. So put on your walking shoes and take your first step towards freedom from osteoarthritis of the knee.
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