Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is one of the most common types of arthritis. It is characterized by wear and tear of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones. When the cartilage breaks down, the bones rub against each other, causing pain and loss of movement.
For many years, it was thought that people with arthritis should avoid exercise because it would further damage the joints. Now doctors and therapists know that people with arthritis can improve their health through moderate exercise without hurting their joints. One slogan frequently used with arthritis is “motion is lotion”, meaning that movement helps to lubricate the joint and keep it mobile. Exercise also keeps the muscles surrounding the joints strong, which helps to protect the joint. Other benefits of exercise include improving your energy level, helping you sleep better, and enhancing your sense of well-being. One general rule to follow is that if you have more than two hours of increased soreness or discomfort after exercise, then you have done too much. Back down on the amount of exercise during the next session. Along with your prescribed medications, rest, and other parts of your arthritis treatment program, regular exercise can help keep your joints in working order so you can continue your daily activities. Contact your local Physical Therapist to start your exercise program.