The Best Knee Osteoarthritis Exercises to Complement Your Physical Therapy

Old,Man,Suffering,From,Knee,Pain,Sitting,Sofa Since knee osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, the goal of physical therapy (PT) is different from recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or rotator cuff surgery. Instead, a physical therapist’s primary objective with knee osteoarthritis is to deliver immediate relief while guiding patients with the knowledge and tools to manage this condition in the long term. Here’s what you can expect during PT for knee osteoarthritis and how to support your sessions with at-home exercises.

What To Expect at Knee Osteoarthritis PT

During PT, knee osteoarthritis patients are first assessed on knee strength, range of motion, alignment, and more. Sessions typically include manual therapy to improve movement and exercise therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance. Physical therapists may use pain management techniques like ice, heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to manage pain and inflammation. Patients are also educated on managing symptoms between PT visits with at-home exercises.

Common At-Home Exercises For Knee Osteoarthritis

Physical therapists will provide patients with a customized, detailed plan of the best exercises to complete at home. Follow-up PT visits may include a progress assessment and recommended adjustments to mitigate pain and optimize freedom of movement. At-home exercises fall into the following four categories:

  1. Strengthening Exercises: Like quad sets, straight leg raises, and step-ups
  2. Flexibility Exercises: Hamstring and calf stretches
  3. Aerobic Conditioning: Focus on low-impact, like walking, cycling, and swimming or water aerobics
  4. Balance Exercises: Single-leg stands

Every patient’s knee osteoarthritis plan is customized and individualized, but generally, most successful knee osteoarthritis plans combine all four. To manage your knee osteoarthritis effectively, we recommend committing to your physical therapy plan and doing your best to meet the recommended exercise reps.

Exercise Rules of Thumb

No matter the exact exercises on your at-home knee osteoarthritis plan, the following rules apply:

  • Always start with a five to 10-minute warm-up to loosen up your muscles before jumping in.
  • Start slow with fewer reps and sets, then build up over time.
  • If an exercise causes pain, STOP. Tell your physical therapist about it so adjustments can be made.
  • Be consistent. Regular exercise is critical for managing knee osteoarthritis.

Schedule Your First Session at CynergyPT Today

If you’re ready to tackle your chronic knee osteoarthritis with PT and an at-home exercise plan, reach out to any of our six convenient locations in New York, NY. You can call our office at 212-974-7252 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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