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What exercises are good for osteoarthritis?

Q: About 3 months ago I had a painful right knee, I was not able to bend or raise my legs and the doctor asked for an X-ray. The reconclusion was evidence suggestive of osteoarthritic changes seen in the right knee joint. He gave me exercises, like lifting sandbag and I feel good in the knee but for the past few days I get a pain in the hips especially when I get up after sitting for a while. Is this also related to the knee problem? The medication I am taking at the moment is Cartisave 2 a day, Alpha D3 1 in the morning. I am 70kg and near 5ft. I know I am overweight but have tried very hard to reduce; please suggest a course of treatment.

A:Your problem at the hip could be due to weight. Arthritic joints do give a problem. As the joints are chronically inflamed joints, all exercises have to be careful and controlled. Water exercises are the easiest on the damaged joints. Swimming 15-20 minutes should be fine. As far as physiotherapy is concerned, all exercises are prohibited in the acute phase. Later you can do flexibility and strengthening exercises as per your tolerance. You can try the following schedule. Week 1 and 2:

  • 5 minutes warm up
  • 5 minutes aerobic activity.
  • 5 minutes cool down. Week 3 and 4:
  • 5 minutes warm up
  • 5 minutes aerobic activity.
  • 5 minutes exercises. With sand bags.(500 grams to start with.)
  • 5 minutes cool down. Week 5 onwards:
  • Increase aerobic activity to 15 minutes.
  • Keep strength training to 5 minutes and gradually increase weights as per your tolerance. Reducing your weight is a MUST for you. Do not go on a crash diet. Reduce your oil and fat intake and add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. As per your condition of the joints, start walks twice a day. There are a few precautions you need to take. 1. Do not exercise in the acute phase. 2. Increase the length of your walking sessions only 10% a week. 3. Apply hot water bag to your arthritic joints before and after exercises. 4. Be prepared for minor discomforts. 5. Keep a knee cap handy to use while you are climbing steps or walking on uneven roads. I know the condition is painful but you can get back to being yourself soon . Just have a little patience and you should be fine.

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