Exercise and osteoarthritis

A regular exercise program is an important part of anyone's lifestyle. If you have osteoarthritis, check with your health professional before beginning or continuing any exercise so that you can determine whether it is safe and effective for osteoarthritic joints.

Stretching exercises will help prevent the stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and help prevent injury. Strengthening muscles and ligaments makes arthritic joints stronger and reduces stress on the joint. Stronger thigh muscles, for example, take some of the stress off of weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips. Simple exercise, such as walking, can significantly decrease knee pain.

A physical therapist sometimes is needed to help a person with damaged joints or joint replacement learn the best exercise for his or her particular condition.

Last Updated: April 17, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Richa Dhawan, MD - Rheumatology

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