How can osteoarthritis of the knee affect your workout?

By: Contributors

Osteoarthritis of the knee is the result of significant wear and tear on the cartilage of your knee. Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee include pain, swelling and loss of knee mobility [source: NIAMS]. These symptoms are especially pronounced during, and after, vigorous exercise. Osteoarthritis symptoms during your workouts may gradually worsen over the years. You may not notice the subtle change in your knee functioning or an increase in pain. You may be able to do your regular exercise program for quite some time [source: NIAMS]. It is important to note that exercise does not cause or worsen osteoarthritis.

Once osteoarthritis symptoms are pronounced, you may notice that you cannot complete your workouts due to significant pain, swelling and decreased mobility. This may be the case especially if you engage in high-intensity, high-impact workouts, such as aerobics or running. If this occurs, you will likely need to reduce the intensity of your workouts or engage in low-impact workouts, such as swimming. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication may help with osteoarthritis symptoms during your workout [source: NIAMS].


That said, exercise is vital for maintaining joint health. If you experience osteoarthritis symptoms during your workouts, do not stop your exercise program. Regular exercise helps maintain your muscle function. Exercise also reduces your risk of obesity, which greatly contributes to the severity of osteoarthritis [source: NIAMS]. Exercise improves your mood, decreases pain and increases your flexibility [source: NIAMS]. You should engage in 60 minutes of exercise a day, taking the necessary precautions to avoid knee injury. Decrease the likelihood of osteoarthritis symptoms with proper warm-up and stretching prior to vigorous exercise. Finally, if you feel like you can't do this alone, consult a physical therapist who can provide you with help regarding an appropriate exercise plan and strategies for reducing osteoarthritis symptoms [source: NAMS].