Why exercising if you have osteoarthritis can do more good than harm

What are the common treatments for osteoarthritis?

Basic treatments for osteoarthritis are physiotherapy, weight loss and painkillers.

Physiotherapy involves designing simple stretching and weight bearing exercises designed to strengthen and loosen up the joint. Simple aerobic exercise can have a number of benefits if approached correctly. Using the joint will reduce inflammation and swelling, improve stability and reduce pain through a combination of the above and endorphin release. Weight loss will reduce pain caused by load-bearing.

The simplest exercises, such as low intensity cardiovascular regimens, include walking, jogging and swimming.

This type of exercise will improve stamina, mood and sleep, whilst reducing weight, fatigue and stress. Fitness applications downloaded to your mobile device have been shown to improve workouts by helping you keep track of your progress. By starting slow and working up, you can improve your physical fitness alongside your joint pain and together build a stronger, healthier body whilst relieving pain. The above are also likely to extend your life by combatting cardiovascular disease .

Using exercise in combination with physiotherapy and painkillers will help to make a happy joint - and, consequently, a happier life in general.

So start today to begin seeing results soon.

Having osteoarthritis is not a barrier to being active; it is just a challenge to overcome.

Any opinions above are the author's alone. Guidance is based on the best available evidence at the time of writing. All data is based on externally validated studies unless expressed otherwise. Novel data is representative of sample surveyed. Online recommendation is no substitute for seeing your own doctor and should not be taken as medical advice. Review any new exercise or diet regime with your primary healthcare provider.

Dr Ben Janaway MBChB is a 27-year-old doctor and healthcare communicator. His interests include Neuroscience, healthcare ethics and public health. He regularly contributes to online health sources. Follow Ben on Facebook or @drjanaway on twitter


1) http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/arthritis-and-daily-life/exercise-and-arthritis.aspx
2) http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Osteoarthritis
3) http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/how-to/
4) Simon, C et al (2016) 'Oxford Handbook of General Practice' 4th Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford


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