Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Osteoarthritis of the Knee


Osteoarthritis is the commonest cause of knee pain in older people. By following advice in this leaflet you can help your knees to work normally.

The problem in your knee is the smooth joint surface becoming irregular. The bone also grows abnormally. This leads to stiffness, pain and sometimes deformity of the knee.

The following exercises will help your knees. You should start off with the most gentle exercises and then progress through the exercises at a rate that you feel comfortable with.

1Hang your legs over the edge of a table or high chair and swing them around. Do this for 2 minutes.

2Hold your legs over the edge of the bed, raise the lower part of your leg so the knee is straight and hold it in this position for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.

3Keep your leg flat on the bed, bend your toes towards your head as much as possible and keep this position for 10 seconds and release. Repeat this 10 times.

4Step on and off a low step 10 times, sit to stand from a low chair 10 times.

5Keep up regular exercises for example 30 minutes brisk walking a day.

Doing these exercises will help keep your knee joint mobile and also strengthen the muscles and other structures around your knee. Unfortunately the exercises do not cure the osteoarthritis. You may still suffer with knee pain. When you get the knee pain you should stop exercising for a day or two until the pain subsides and then gently restart the exercises. Whilst you have the knee pain, you may require painkillers to relieve this pain. However, your painkillers should not be seen as the most important treatment for your knee. Doing exercises is the most beneficial to your knee.

Being overweight will also worsen your knee pain so in addition to doing the above exercises, following a sensible diet will help.

If you can maintain the above exercise regime your knees should stay healthier. If despite following the above advice for a month you feel your knees are becoming stiffer and causing you more problems, you should make a further appointment to see your Doctor.