Exercise in the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoarthritis
- Pp. 10-22 (13)Ashley L. Artese and Brandon F. Grubbs
Exercise can reduce the risk for osteoarthritis by aiding in the prevention of obesity, joint instability, and muscle weakness. It can also serve as an effective treatment by helping patients manage weight, improve muscular strength, decrease joint stiffness, improve range of motion, increase functionality, and reduce the risk for falls. Before starting an exercise program, patients should obtain a physician’s consent and complete a thorough fitness assessment with an exercise specialist. The exercise program should be progressive, beginning with low-to-moderate intensity exercises followed by gradual increases in intensity. Low impact aerobic training and isometric or isotonic strength training are recommended modes of exercise for effective management of osteoarthritis symptoms. Yoga and tai chi provide low impact exercises and are considered effective therapy options for osteoarthritis symptom management. In addition, water-based exercise programs may improve adherence to an exercise program and be equally effective as land-based exercise for improving gait, functionality and pain. Since exercise adherence is the primary predictor of long-term outcomes in osteoarthritic patients, strategies to improve exercise adherence should be implemented.