These mild exercises may not break a sweat but they’ll go a long way to help manage arthritic pain.
Healthy joints aren’t a given. Thanks to wear and tear, old injuries, genetics or even an increase in weight, you may find yourself experiencing osteoarthritis (OA). Commonly known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, it is one of 200 medical conditions that can be classified as arthritic pain and isn’t just limited to the elderly.
“OA is a condition where the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down,” says Joseph Chan, chief physiotherapist of Rehab & Beyond and resident physiotherapist at Core Collective. “It is often accompanied by a decrease in joint lubrication and joint space. While it can affect any joint in the body, weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips are more commonly affected and usually develop later in age, gradually worsening over time.”
While treatment for OA revolves around exercises and pain relief (such as with the use of hot packs), specific exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist to target specific joints can help manage arthritic pain.
Whether you wear high heels or swear by ballet flats, it’s not uncommon for this weight bearing area to experience joint pain so this is an important area to strengthen.
Wall sit: Rest your back on a wall from top to bottom. Place your feet two steps away from the wall and slide down the wall until your knees are bent at between 60 and 90 degrees. hold that position for 10 seconds. Do three sets of 10 per day.
Sit to stand: From a sitting position, stand up slowly (over five counts) without using your hands and sit back down just as slowly. Do three sets of 10 per day.
Tip toe: Place both feet shoulder width apart, lift your heels off the floor slowly and hold for five counts before lowering yourself back down.
If you’ve ever experienced stiffness getting up in the morning, or standing up from your desk after a long period of sitting, this is an example of joint stiffness. While this may not be avoidable for desk bound workers, the following exercises will help to manage the aches or pain felt on a daily basis.
Bridging: Lie face up in bed with knees bent and the heel of the feet just short of the fingertips. Gently lift the tailbone off the bed, rolling up with the pelvis until the whole body is straight from shoulder to knees. Hold for 10 counts. Do three sets of 10.
Hip abduction and extension: In a standing position, put weight on one leg and lift the other off the ground sideways. Keep the knee straight, out to the side. Make sure your toes are still pointing forward. Keep your upper body upright. Lift the leg straight to the back while keeping the upper body stationary. Repeat with the other leg. Do three sets of 10 per day.
Blame it on repetitive mobile phone usage or the improper position of your mouse but wrist pain is extremely common. While Joseph highlights that the hand is particularly complex in its structure and may call for a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to prescribe specific exercises, some common ones, like these below, can alleviate any pain experienced.
Arm stretch: Stretch your arm in a direction that doesn’t hurt. Hold your arm out with the elbow straight, bend your wrist down to the floor or up to the ceiling in the direction without experiencing any pain. Use the free hand to give a bit more stretch by pulling on the fingers. Hold for 30 seconds. Do this 10 times a day.
Stress ball squeeze: Gently squeeze a stress ball until the hand is fully closed, before gently releasing it. Do three sets of 10 per day.