Oh My Aching Joints: Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you likely cringe at the thought of getting up off of the couch and moving around—it’s too painful! The problem is, if you don’t move, the condition (and the pain) only get worse. It’s a vicious cycle that you must break if you want to live a full and active life. This is especially true with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, which can drive even the most active person to becoming a couch potato. Not to worry, though—Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy will help you say so long to your sofa!

Pain, Pain, Go Away

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease where inflammation of the joints causes a gradual breakdown of the protective cartilage between your bones. This results in pain with every movement of your joints, so the temptation for those who suffer from the condition is to stay sedentary. After all, pain and stiffness in your knees and hips clearly makes it difficult to even walk or stand.  However, keeping those joints moving keeps the surrounding muscles strong, which helps stave off additional damage from the condition. How you move, though, is vitally important.

Actions to Avoid

High impact activities can have adverse effects. If you have osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, don’t try to run, jump rope, or join an aerobics class. Also, stay away from any activity that involves both feet off of the ground at once. Instead, choose things like tai chi or yoga that have low impact on your joints.

Get Moving

Luckily, despite having to steer clear of high impact activities, there are plenty of other ways to get yourself moving. The right exercises for you fall into three different categories: Cardio makes your heart healthy and your bones strong; muscle strengthening reduces strain on your joints; and range of motion exercises keep you flexible and prevent falls. Here are some you can try:

  • Cardio—Take a leisurely walk, go for a swim, or hop on a recumbent bike that extends the angle of your joints.

  • Muscle Strengthening—If the connective tissues surrounding your joints become strong, you will regain lost stability. The renewed support will relieve symptoms, so go ahead and pump some iron (but don’t get too carried away!)

  • Range-of-Motion—The experts at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy can take you through exercises that you can do on a mat or even in a pool. Simply swinging or extending your legs alternately can increase flexibility and keep your hips limber. For knees, try lying on your stomach and bringing your heel towards your back, sitting in a chair and extending your leg out straight, or going down on one knee and gently rocking back and forth.

Preventing Pain

There are certain risks that can factor into the development of osteoarthritis overtime. Genetics and improperly formed joints are not in your control, however, there are some things you can do to prevent the condition. Refrain from activities that use your joints in a repetitive fashion and keep your weight in check. Moving and maintaining a healthy weight go hand-in-hand—that’s a bonus!

To learn more about how you can live a full life with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, visit Dr. Jennifer Molner, DPT at Castle Pines Physical Therapy in Castle Pines, CO or Cherry Creek Physical Therapy in Denver, CO. Call (303) 805-5156 for an appointment today.