As knee arthritisknee arthritis progresses, certain activities will start to cause more pain than previously. Specifically, deep knee bending, twisting and impact activities will become more difficult. Limit these types of activities to decrease the symptoms. Try to maintain as much activity as possible while avoiding significant pain. This will help prevent weakening of muscles and may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition, there are specific home exerciseshome exercises that can be performed to keep the muscles strong.
Weight loss can reduce the stress exposed to an arthritic knee. Simple activities such as walking can be made easier with weight loss. Patients with severe arthritis will have to especially focus on diet control, if exercise is difficult.
Even walking stairs can become challenging. Here is a common expression used in orthopaedics that helps you remember how to navigate stairs: “Up with the Good and Down with the Bad.” When traveling up a stair, hold on to the railing and lead up the stair with your good leg. The bad leg should follow onto that step. When descending the stair, hold on to the railing and take your first step with the bad leg. The good leg will then follow onto that step. Take one stair at a time.
Sometimes arthritic symptoms will require a patient to limit how much they walk or may force the patient to use a cane or walker. Remember to hold the cane in the opposite hand of your arthritic knee. This will reduce the stress placed on your knee when walking. The top of the cane should reach to the crease in your wrist. Your elbow will slightly bend when using the cane properly. The cane should move in unison and “follow” your arthritic knee as they strike the ground.
If the arthritis progresses than a walker may need to be used. The top of a walker should also reach to the wrist crease. Place the walker one step in front of you, grip with both hands, and step with your arthritic knee. Follow with your good leg.
These rules for stairs and the assistive devices are good to follow during the recovery phase from knee replacement surgery as well.
Another option to consider is the use of a handicap parking space. Physicians can help their patients obtain handicap placards to make convenient parking spaces available. Typically, the physician will have paperwork that can be signed in the office and taken to the DMV.