Hi everyone, today I’m going to look at how you can help manage the pain and discomfort you experience when you have osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. Based on a review by a panel of experts identifying treatment interventions that had good evidence behind them the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have developed recommendations for the management of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.
The recommendations include physical and psychological interventions as well as medication. I will briefly discuss the physical interventions that were recommended for knee and hip osteoarthritis, and then add my own advice developed over my 30 years of clinical experience.
Essentially, of all the physical interventions, land-based exercise for all people with knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA) is strongly recommended regardless of age, severity of the OA, functional status, and pain levels. Also, exercise has been found to be beneficial for health generally.
People with OA of the knee or hip should seek advice from a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to prescribe an individualized progressive exercise program, and this advice should consider the persons capacity and availability to exercise, their preferences and other medical issues they may have.
Activities including walking and stationary cycling and are highly recommended. Tai Chi, yoga, hydrotherapy, heat, and massage have also been found to be appropriate and helpful.
The other strong recommendation is weight management achieved through dietary modification and exercises. You can seek appropriate advice regarding these interventions form an exercise physiologist.
If you have osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, try the following:
- Land- based exercises to improve strength of the muscles supporting the knee. This may be in a class setting or done individually.
- Try walking regularly, cycling, hydrotherapy, Yoga or Tai Chi
- Try a short course of massage
- Use a heat pack or hot water bottle to help relieve the pain
- If you are carrying too much weight, try dietary modifications to reduce your weight
Here are a few exercises that you get started with to help:
Inner range quads:
- Sit upright with your legs out in front of you.
- Place a rolled-up towel under your affected knee. Repeat x10 twice
- Slowly lift your heel up off the floor, straightening your knee while keeping the back of your leg on the towel.
- Hold this position, then control the movement as you lower the foot back down again.
- Standing with feet hip-width apart and arms out in front, bend at the hips and knees lowering your buttocks into a half squat.
- Return to standing. Repeat x10
- From standing, step forward bending the front knee to a 45-degree angle by lowering your hips into a half-lunge position.
- Step back to standing. Repeat x10
Hope this helps, Deb