10 stretches and exercises for people with joint pain.
Research shows that exercise can decrease joint pain and stiffness while improving flexibility, mobility, mood and overall wellness for those suffering from arthritis. Exercise can also help you lose weight, which can help lessen joint pain — especially in the knees. Before starting any exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor.
Trace the alphabet with your foot in the air. Start with “A” and go all the way to “Z.” Be sure to use your whole foot, not just your big toe. This can help keep your range of motion in the ankle and increase lubrication to the joint.
While sitting, extend one leg out in front. Contract your thigh muscles for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side.
Stand and hold the back of a chair for balance. Place your weight on your left leg. Stand tall and lift your right leg out to the side; keep it straight with outer leg muscles tensed. Hold 3 seconds, then slowly lower. Repeat 10 times. Switch legs.
Stretch your calves behind and below the knee. Hold onto the back of a chair. Rise up onto the balls of your feet so your heels are off the ground. Pause for 2 seconds, then lower feet.
Stand with your back against the wall. Slowly bend forward just enough to make the tips of your toes disappear from sight. Return to a fully upright position. Repeat 5 times.
Maintaining range of motion is just as important in your hands. Open your hands, then close them into a fist and squeeze. Repeat 10 times.
Lie down and loop a resistance band or bed sheet around your right foot. Holding onto the band, pull your right leg up and stretch it. Hold for 20 seconds, then lower. Repeat twice. Switch to the left side.
If getting up is difficult, this can make it easier. Place 2 pillows on a chair. Sit on top, with your back straight, feet flat on the floor. Use your leg muscles to slowly and smoothly stand up tall. Then slowly lower again to sit. Be sure your bent knees don’t move forward of your toes. Try it with your arms crossed or loose at your sides.
Strengthen the inside of your legs to better support your knees. Lie on your back, both knees bent. Place a pillow between your knees. Squeeze knees together, squishing the pillow between them. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax. Repeat 10 times.
This will help build muscle strength. Lie on the floor, upper body supported by your elbows. Bend your left knee, foot on the floor. Keep the right leg straight, toes pointed up. Tighten your thigh muscles and raise your right leg. Pause for 3 seconds. Slowly lower your leg to the ground. Touch and raise again. Repeat 10 times. Switch legs.