Those living with arthritis have a tough job. Whether it’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA), it is a disease that requires constant work. Sufferers must keep the joints flexible, maintain range of motion, and prevent the condition from worsening while also managing the pain. It can be hard to stay motivated while you’re in pain, but research has shown that stretching and exercise can ease pain and improve function for arthritis patients.
There are many methods of stretching, from yoga to tai chi and Pilates. Some water-based exercises can help RA and OA pain, as well. Here are some easy stretches for arthritis that can be done at home or even in bed.
Stretches for Knee Pain
If you have arthritis of the knee, you want to preserve cartilage and keep your flexibility as much as possible.
Standing quadriceps stretch:
- Hold on to a chair, wall or couch for balance.
- Bend your left knee and raise your left foot behind you.
- Hold your left ankle and raise it backward, away from your body. You should feel a stretch in your quadricep.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds, then repeat on the right side. Do both sides twice.
Kneeling hip flexor stretch:
- Use a mat or soft surface to protect your knees while doing this stretch.
- Raise up onto both knees and step your left foot forward.
- Place your hands atop your left knee, and gently lunge forward, keeping your back straight and hips facing forward.
- Gently rock forward and back for 20 seconds
- Bring your left foot back so that you are back in a kneeling position, and then step the right foot forward to repeat the exercise on the right side. Do both sides twice.
Forward fold hamstring stretch:
- Keeping your low back and knees straight, bend at the waist to reach downward.
- Reach all the way to the ground if you can, but if not, reach as far as is comfortable.
- Take deep breaths as you do this stretch. Do not hold your breath.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- If you feel any pinching or pain, stop right away.
Standing calf muscle stretch:
- Stand facing a wall with your arms out and hands pressed against the wall.
- Step your right foot forward, allowing a bend in your right knee.
- Move your left foot back and root your left heel firmly down.
- Bring your upper body forward, using the wall for balance.
- You will feel a stretch in the calf muscle. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Bend your left knee, stretching the soleus part of the calf muscle. Hold for 10-20 seconds.
- Step out of this position and reverse on the opposite side.
Supine leg raise stretch:
- Lie down on your back, extending your legs out.
- Place your left foot on the ground with your knee pointing up.
- Lift your right leg up, as high as you are comfortable while keeping it straight.
- Contract your abs and glute muscles to keep your back from curling up.
- After you have held this position for 20 seconds, gently bend the right knee, and bring your leg down.
- Repeat on the other side. Do each side three times.
Stretching is just one of the many helpful treatments and regimens that can help the arthritis condition. Contact us at KB Chiropractic to learn more about other options.