Orthopedic Health

Easy Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

Written by Dr. Ankita Sharma and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: Easy Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that features the breakdown and eventually, loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently as we age, the common age group of onset being 40 to 50 years. Osteoarthritis is referred to as degenerative joint diseases (DJD). Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hand, feet, and large weight-bearing joints like hip and knee joints. Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disorder of cartilage. It is not a systemic disease, unlike rheumatoid arthritis which is a systemic autoimmune disorder.

Osteoarthritis is partly a result of natural aging of the joint, where the water content of the cartilage degenerates as a result of biologic processes. The cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses. In advanced osteoarthritis, there is a total loss of cartilage cushion which causes friction between bones, leading to pain. There is then a limitation in the mobility of joints. Inflammation of cartilage can also stimulate new bone growth spur (osteophytes).

Risk Factors

  • Being overweight.
  • Legs of different length.
  • A job with a high level of joint stress.
  • Family history.

Signs of Joint Inflammation

  1. Pain.
  2. Tenderness.
  3. Stiffness.
  4. Restricted mobility.
  5. Heat.
  6. Redness.


  • X-ray.
  • MRI.

It is very hard to diagnose OA until there is pain or debilitating symptoms.


  1. Surgical: Knee replacement.
  2. Medication: NSAIDs.
  3. Exercise: This is a more effective treatment for acute OA. Sticking to the following regimen provides maximum benefit.
  • Strengthening exercises for knees, hip, and foot.
  • Hydrotherapy.
  • MET (muscle energy technique).
  • Weight loss exercise.
  • Adequate sleep.
  • Heat and cold therapy.

For chronic osteoarthritis

  1. Surgery is recommended.
  2. Total knee replacement is done.
  3. Medication is recommended for pain relief.
  4. After surgery, physiotherapy is suggested for early mobility.

0-5 day:

  • Ankle-toe movement.
  • CPM 0 to 10 degrees.
  • Abduction of the hip.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Isometric exercise.

5-15 days:

  • Walk with a walker.
  • CPM 10 to 20 degrees.
  • Abduction of the hip.
  • Above all exercises.
  • Daily routine done by patients (ADL activity).
  • Isometric and eccentric exercises.

15-30 days:

  • All the above exercises.
  • Resistance exercises passive.
  • Aqua or hydrotherapy exercise
  • Mobilization exercises passive and active.
  • CPM 20 to 45 degrees.

30-45 days:

  • Above exercises.
  • CPM 45 to 65 degree.
  • Resistive exercise.

The patient can do all activities except bending knees. Sitting on the floor is restricted. For pain relief, painkiller medicine is suggested.

For more information consult a physiotherapist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/physiotherapist

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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