3 Knee Arthritis Exercises to Avoid

Osteoarthritis can be, well, a pain in the knee – and other places. We heavily depend on our knees for movement, and even a little pain and stiffness can impede normal activities

Exercise is crucial when it comes to arthritis. However, the key is finding the right exercises. Long-term exercise is generally safe for adults with arthritis and knee pain because it helps to increase strength and flexibility, reduce joint pain, and combat fatigue. 

While exercise benefits arthritis in many ways, some exercises can actually make osteoarthritis worse

However, while exercise benefits arthritis in many ways, some exercises make osteoarthritis worse. Keep reading to learn about three exercises to avoid with knee arthritis.

1. Deep Squats 

If you’re looking to work your lower body as part of your workout routine, you’ve likely added a variety of squats to the mix. Deep squats, in particular, are beneficial for joint flexibility and strengthening lower body muscles. 

For a deep squat, your feet are shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Your toes and knees are straight, and your trunk is erect. Move as though you are trying to sit back in an imaginary chair. Your ankles, knees, and hips bend in unison, and your spine remains straight. As you lower yourself into a squat, your knees will travel over your toes, and your hips go back. 

Individuals with osteoarthritis affecting the knees should avoid this exercise because it puts a lot of stress on the knees. Additionally, joint weakness can cause your knees to move inward during the squat, leading to increased wear in the knee. It also increases your risk for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

Exercise is crucial when it comes to arthritis, but having proper form is key

2. Deep Lunges 

Deep lunges are essentially a one-legged squat, and while they are beneficial for improving leg and hip strength, they can cause pain when done incorrectly. Lunges are an exercise that can make osteoarthritis worse if not done carefully. 

To do a deep lunge, take a large step forward with one leg and bend at the knee. Your forward knee should never go past your ankle. Once you find balance, slowly lift your back heel off the floor and keep lifting it until you create a straight line from your back knee to your hip. 

Individuals with osteoarthritis may have more difficulty maintaining proper form when doing a deep lunge, which can aggravate arthritis and cause more pain. Allowing your knee to move in front of your toes is the most common mistake when lunging. This increases the compression force on the kneecap, potentially increasing knee cartilage damage.

3. W Sit and Hurdler Stretch

While W-sitting is normally seen in children, some athletes use this position to stretch their hip rotators and quadriceps. This position describes when a child (or person) sits with their knees out in front of them, but their ankles and feet are off to the side of their hips, creating a W shape. 

This stretch puts excess stress on the knees, hips, and ankles, which is why it is a knee arthritis exercise to avoid. Hurdler stretches are similar, except stretching focuses on one knee at a time. 

Some stretched put excess pressure on the knee, which can be bad for arthritis

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Knee Arthritis 

Determining which knee arthritis exercises to avoid can be daunting, especially since you may find a lot of conflicting information. If you have osteoarthritis and knee pain, it is vital to your health and well-being to keep moving, but it is equally important to do so safely. 

Knee pain physical therapy provides a safe setting where professionals can safely show you how to perform exercises that will build strength and prevent further joint damage. Physical therapy for arthritis can help you successfully manage your arthritis symptoms and guide your body to complete wellness. 

Learn Safe Knee Arthritis Exercises at Mid-County Physical Therapy

Mid-County Physical Therapy offers well-trained, fully licensed medical professionals who have the knowledge and experience to help you manage your arthritis. Make an appointment at Mid-County Physical Therapy today and take the first step towards healing, pain relief, and overall higher quality of life.

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