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Best exercises and stretches for knee arthritis or knee pain, stiffness and/or swelling


Do you have knee pain, knee arthritis or knee ‘OA’?

An extremely common cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis (OA.) It is best summarised as wear and tear to the cartilage of the knee which can progress to affect the bones but does not always do so. 

It causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and restriction to day to day activities as well as sport and exercise. 


What are the best stretches or exercises for knee arthritis?

We would strongly recommend that you get any knee pain assessed by a physiotherapist or sports doctor. Our team would be happy to do this in person or by video consultation. Please email reception@octopusclinic.com to get booked in. Depending on your symptoms we can tailor your exercises according to whether your arthritis is in the knee cap joint (patellofemoral joint) which is the joint between the knee cap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur) or the knee joint itself (tibiofemoral joint) the joint between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia.)


Should knee exercises for arthritis be painful?

A low level of pain can be expected but it must be a maximum of two to three out of ten on a pain scale where ten is the worse pain you can imagine and zero is nothing. This accuracy of this pain scale presumes you don’t have a condition which means your ability to feel pain is reduced and/or you are not taking painkillers or anti-inflammatories.

Low levels of pain are part of the body’s natural healing and adaptation processes. The process of recovery involves creating microtrauma to the tissues, which leads to low-level inflammation and triggers the body to produce stronger, more resilient structures. It is also part of the adaptation process for the nervous system which modulates our experience of pain. 

However, this pain should not last more than two to three hours post-exercise. If the pain is any more intense than two to three out of ten, or if it lasts longer than two to three hours then you need to stop doing the exercises and get in touch with a physiotherapist who can tailor the exercises to your body. We would be happy to do this for you in person or by video consultation, you can email us at reception@octopusclinic.com


The best exercises for knee arthritis or knee pain


  1. Squatting with knee alignment
  2. Wall/ball series for hip alignment and stability
  3. Ankle alignment and stability  
  4. Running man to put it all together for walking
  5. Stepping up for quadriceps and gluteal strength 
  6. ‘Proprioception’


What other things will reduce your knee arthritis pain?

Everyone knows that weight loss can really help knee pain of any cause but this video outlines all the things that are in your control that can help reduce your pain.


It is also important, particularly if you have had pain for more than a few weeks, to pace day to day activities. You can learn how to do this in this video. Don’t be put off by the reference to COVID-19, it very much applies to anyone who has had their pain for more than a few weeks.  


Join our online community for all the latest advice and exercises

We hope that has been useful. Please do come and join us on our growing Facebook community for all the latest videos and news on how to stay healthy over the next few months. Just find the page ‘Octopus Clinic’ and click on the like button. 


Get in contact

You can contact Lucy directly on lucy@octopusclinic.com, via this website (where you can also find lots of free exercise videos) and on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. 

You can book an appointment online here, email reception@octopusclinic.com or call 020 7583 8288.


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