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Exercise for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis

A recent publication from the Arthroscopy Association of Canada (AAC), that includes Banff Sport Medicine’s Dr Michaela Kopka, reviews the existing guidelines on the use of exercise as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

Exercise is Medicine

Exercise is widely regarded to improve pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) through building supportive muscle mass, facilitating weight loss, and through the other beneficial effects associated with it.

After reviewing all the existing studies, the AAC published a formal Position Statement that was recently published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

The AAC concluded that,

“Exercise is an effective and important component of the non-pharmacological management of
knee OA.”

Arthroscopy Association of Canada

Your Exercise Prescription for Knee OA

The AAC also recommended the following general parameters for an effective exercise program:

  • there should be multiple sessions per week, at least 2-3 sessions
  • aerobic exercise should be combined with strengthening exercises
  • many activities patients commonly enjoy (e.g. walking, biking, swimming) are aerobic which should also be a focus
  • the majority of exercises should be strength-training with a focus on the quadriceps and hamstring muscles and should consist of a variety of exercises including isometric, isotonic, weight bearing, non-weight bearing, and therapeutic band resistance exercises such as leg extensions, leg press, leg lifts, stair climb, wall sit etc
  • exercise programs should be supervised or have some health care provider (e.g. physical therapist) involved

Access the original publication here.

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