Many who suffer from osteoarthritis worry that exercising could do more harm than good, but research reports that regular exercise is vital for reducing pain and increasing range of motion. The swelling, pain, and stiffness that are associated with osteoarthritis severely hinder the range of motion in your joints, and inactivity can result in excessive weight gain and muscle loss. Range-of-motion exercises can increase your joint mobility, overall physical condition, and muscle strength. With the latest medical studies showing just how crucial exercise is for patients, doctors are implementing new approaches to range-of-motion routines.
What Are Range-of-Motion Exercises?
Range of motion deals with the ability to achieve full movement with your joints, which makes range-of-motion exercises essential for patients. Pain and stiffness make moving certain joints extremely difficult, resulting in making the easiest tasks challenging. Range-of-motion equipment makes exercising easier, allowing patients to obtain maximum mobility levels.
Range-of-motion exercises require you to preform gentle movements and stretches that take your joints into their full span. You should perform these exercises every day to help improve and maintain your joint flexibility. These exercises are best suited for before endurance and strengthening exercises.
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You can implement several specific range-of-motion exercises in your daily routine to help increase your knee and hips’ range of motion. These activities are designed to encourage your joints to move into full span without forcing them into the position. This allows your joints to lubricate themselves and heal any damage previously done. Range-of-motion exercises can be performed on a mat or in a pool.
Before starting any flexibility exercise, you should seek your doctor’s advice. Depending on your comfort and ability levels, you should start out by performing these exercises two to three times every week and working your way up to daily. Focus on doing two to three sets and eight reps per side.
- Leg Swings: While holding onto the pool’s edge, swing your leg to each side, which will increase your hips’ mobility.
- Leg Extensions: Remaining in the above position, slowly extend your leg backwards and alternate with each side.
- Knee Rocks: With a soft mat cushioning your knee, bend down on one knee and rock forward gently, keeping the shoulders straight. Knee rocks protect your lumbar spine while stretching the front of your knee.
- Leg Curls: Lying on your stomach, gently bend one heel towards your buttocks while keeping your hips flat on the ground.
- Straight Leg Raises: While sitting on a chair, slowly straighten your leg and raise it to the front of you, making sure to alternate legs.
When performing range-of-motion exercises, you should never use weights unless told otherwise by your doctor. Weights can put too much torque on your joints, which will exacerbate your osteoarthritis. If you wish to add extra weight, use range-of-motion equipment that is especially designed to keep your weight off the joint.