Knee and Hip Exercises for Osteoarthritis
- Knee rocks. Get down on one knee as if you’re proposing marriage (with a soft mat underneath to cushion your knees). Rock gently forward, keeping your shoulders straight. This stretches the front of the knee while protecting the lumbar spine. Make sure your knee does not extend past your toes as this can strain the knee.
- Straight leg raises. Sit in a chair, straighten one leg, and raise it straight out in front of you. Alternate legs.
- Leg curls. If you are nimble enough, lie on the floor on your stomach, and gently bend your heel back toward your buttocks, making sure to keep your hips on the ground.
All of these exercises should be done without weights, Arslanian advises. “In general, it’s not a good idea to put a weight on the ankle and bend and straighten the knee. That puts a lot of torque on the knee that can exacerbate arthritis. Instead, if you want to add weight, it’s better to use something like the full leg press machine, which has you lie down and push a plate up. With those, your full body weight is somewhat unloaded from the joint.”