How to adventure with arthritis

Learn how to adventure with arthritis because you don’t have to stop all of your adventures! Adventures look so different for everyone and we are here to help you keep them alive. Whether it’s hiking, skiing, biking, or just being there for your family or grandchildren we are here for you.

cortisone shot in knee

7 Things most DON’T KNOW about a cortisone shot in the knee

A cortisone shot in the knee can be very tempting but you must first have all of the knowledge before making a decision. Cortisone shots have been questioned recently because of their lack of effectiveness and potential adverse effects to cartilage. On the other hand, as an arthritis specialist, I have known people that have had success with them. The major key to success is confidently having a plan. What should that plan include and what do you need to know about a cortisone shot in the knee? Let’s take a look.

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These are things I have actually heard from patients with osteoarthritis after getting a cortisone shot.

“I feel like I am counting down the days until my next cortisone shot because it only lasts a little while.”

” I didn’t feel any difference in pain after getting the cortisone shot.”

“I felt like a new person after getting a cortisone shot, wondering why I didn’t get one sooner!”

As you can see, there are many different experiences when it comes to cortisone shots. They work for some but may not work for others.

There are, though, a few ways you to prolong pain relief and improve the effect of them. Here are 7 things you should know before making a decision about a cortisone shot in the knee: 

Table of Contents

What you should know before getting a cortisone shot in the knee

1. They aren't for everyone..

In my experience there are certain people who seem to do much better with cortisone shots than others. 

If you are having difficulty finding any sort of pain relief and have given a solid effort to conservative management, you may benefit from one. This includes trying changes in diet (find the best anti-inflammatory foods here), quality exercise, improving sleep, and controlling stress- just to name a few.

Without giving a solid attempt at these things, a cortisone shot may not work for you. Here’s why: 

Cortisone shots are meant to help relieve inflammation and improve joint lubrication. If you are constantly feeding your body inflammatory foods or aren’t exercising to improve blood flow to the joint, you likely won’t feel pain relief no matter what you do to the joint. 

If you are having difficulty walking around your house and getting things done because of pain, a cortisone shot in the knee may give you the inch of relief that you need! 

If pain is not very limiting and just rather annoying, you may not experience significant relief from a cortisone shot as your first line of action.

2. Cortisone shots aren't a permanent solution

One very common question is how long do cortisone shots last? 

The answer, typically 2-3 months if you’re lucky. 

According to WebMD, “Most experts say you should limit injections to no more than once every three or four months. Get no more than about four shots in any one joint.”

These limitations are set because cortisone shots are not a long term solution for pain relief. They are simply a supplement to help with  pain relief. 

It is important to note these injections do pose further risk if the recommended dose is exceeded. According to an article from CreakyJoints,

"Too-frequent injections in the same area can weaken the bones, ligaments, and tendons, which is why doctors limit how often you get steroid shots in a given joint"

CreakyJoints

If you have already recieved a cortisone shot in the knee or are thinking of getting one, the most success lies in having a plan for what to do afterwards. 

One of the BEST plans is to use this new found pain relief to show your joints how to move again. This can be single-handedly the best way to make this pain relief actually last.

One of the guys I have worked with, received a cortisone shot, found pain relief, started this Knee Osteoarthritis Exercise Program right afterwards, and is now RUNNING

If he would’ve just returned to his normal routine of occasionally walking afterwards, without increasing his activity levels, he likely would not have seen these results.

3. Cortisone shots do have risks

Just like anything you inject into your body, there are risks involved that do deserve to be considered. 

There are risks for infections, increased pain following injection, weakening of the cartilage, and stiffness.

CreakyJoints also points out, “Other possible side effects of steroid shots include facial flushing, skin discoloration, local bleeding, or an allergic reaction. Cortisone shots can also raise your blood sugar in the short term, so they’re not recommended for people with diabetes whose blood sugar is poorly controlled.”

4. There is a chance for adverse reactions

Recent research has begun to uncover some not-so-promising evidence surrounding cortisone shots for knee osteoarthritis. In an article posted in Arthritis South Wales, they examined to a study posted in 2019 that found intra-articular corticosteroid injections led to…

  • Accelerated OA progression
  • Subchondral insufficiency fractures (SIF) (factures in the cartilage covering the bone)
  • A risk of osteonecrosis (bone death from lack of blood flow)
  • Rapid joint destruction, including bone loss (meniscal damage, joint space narrowing)

Although it may not be particularly common, these findings can actually be pretty alarming! 

This is one of the considerations when deciding on if a cortisone shot is right for you as there could be a risk for serious consequences.

5. There is a possibility for arthritis pain relief

Now, I have known many people who have received these shots without adverse signs or any problems. Those that have actually been able to find powerful pain relief.

The question remains though, what are you going to do with this pain relief. We have to take advantage of it or else pain will return.

If you had arthritis pain relief from a cortisone shot in the knee you have to have a plan. You have to treat your knee in the best way possible. 

You can do this a few different ways: 

  • Get yourself a pair of supportive shoes. This will help absorb some of the stress going up to the knee joint to further save your cartilage. KURU Footwear is my favorite brand for arthritis friendly tennis shoes, casual shoes and even sandals!
  • Find an exercise program that will strengthen your joints without flaring up pain! Let me tell you it is possible! This Adventurous Knee Osteoarthritis Exercise Program is just the program to do that.
  • Learn more about what osteoarthritis actually is and how you can prevent pain once the cortisone shot in the knee wears off. Check out the video below!

6. There are other options for arthritis pain relief

There are other options when it comes to knee osteoarthritis relief besides cortisone shots. A few of my favorite pain relieving tactics you can try before getting a cortisone shot in the knee include: 

  • Knee compression brace. These can help to relieve arthritis pain as pain and compression are felt with the same receptors in our bodies. These are very inexpensive and are totally worth a try. Make sure you get the right size. Here’s my favorite brace here.
  • Heating pads. Heating pads can be magical when it comes to arthritis pain relief. They help to induce relaxation of the muscles. Here is my favorite heating wrap here
  • Light exercise can really help when getting out of bed or after a long day of activity. This video is one of the best when trying to decrease knee joint pain and stiffness.
  • Certain supplements and foods can help to reduce inflammation in the joint. When you reduce inflammation you can reduce sensitivity and pain levels. These are my new favorite Turmeric gummies from JellyBee Nutrition. Part of Turmeric called Curcumin is an incredible anti-inflammatory spice. 

7. What a cortisone shot feels like

This is important especially if you are thinking of getting one. Is it going to hurt? What should I expect? 

The general consensus is cortisone shots typically aren’t painful. There have been a few people that stated they did hurt going in though. Most of these patients that reported pain had joint swelling. 

It is injected via a needle into your joint space so it has been described as feeling pressure in your joint as well as feeling “weird” afterwards. 

When you get one, you should take it easy for a few days depending on the surgeon’s recommendations. Keep that in mind if you have something like a trip or an activity planned after getting the shot.

Conclusion

There is a lot to consider before agreeing to a cortisone shot in the knee. It is important to have all of the information so you can make an informed decision. They unfortunately don’t guarantee pain relief and do come with risks.

If you would like to know further options on how to start reversing osteoarthritis pain and prevent it from getting worse, I have a free guide just for you. Download it below:

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site

ankle arthritis exercises

11 Ankle Arthritis Exercises You NEED to Know To Be Able to Adventure

Ankle arthritis exercises can help you to unlock the pain relief you need to be able to adventure! Activities walking, hiking, skiing, and running are very dependent on your ankles. The healthier you can keep your ankle joints, the easier these activities will be. Imagine if you could walk on uneven ground or feel balanced on tough surfaces like sand when on vacation? It is possible to adventure even with ankle arthritis, we just have to make sure your joints are ready to handle whatever you want to do! Let’s get to mastering these ankle arthritis exercises so you can learn to live again.

Alright, it’s time to build strong and healthy ankles. If you have dealt with lots of ankle sprains in the past or your ankle feels unstable, stiff, and/or painful these are exactly what you need.

It’s important to note that there is a chance not every single one of these ankle arthritis exercises will work for you. But want to know something, that’s okay! 

You have 10 options below, so the recommendation is to choose between 2-4 exercises that feel good to you. Do them at least every other day for 4 weeks to start. To see the best results, you want to continue for up to 8-10 weeks. Ideally these would just become a part of your daily routine….for life 🙂

 

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First things first before we get moving

If you are dealing with significant pain, it’s important to dissipate some of that pain before we get started. 

If you are fearful to try some of the exercises because you are not confident in your ankle, that’s important to address too.

So how do we manage both of these before we try these exercises?

My favorite ankle compression sleeve. We do want to stay away from hard braces because those begin to work for your muscles, allowing them to get off easy and thus become weak.

The solution? Ankle Arthritis Compression Sleeves like these below.

ankle arthritis braces

These braces will help you feel more stable, more confident, and decrease pain. There are many different kinds of these braces but these are my top 3 favorites: 

  1. SB SOX: these are very lightweight to easily fit into shoes but provide enough compression to bring you relief. Get a pair HERE for under $20.
  2. Techware PRO Ankle Brace: These highly rated braces are also light- weight and come in nude colors if you are looking to conceal the brace. Get a pair HERE for under $20
  3. Sleeve Stars Ankle Brace: this brace would beneficial if you are looking for a little more support. The brace is soft but does have extra velcro straps for a little more help. Get a brace HERE for under $20.

For all of these braces, it is important that you measure your foot as directed and purchase the right size. If they are too big or too small, they may not provide the benefits described.

TOP 11 ankle arthritis exercises

Now let’s get right into it. As an arthritis specialist and physical therapist I know how much of a difference these exercises can make for your feet. As mentioned above, don’t get overwhelmed by thinking you need to do all of these! 

Try them out and choose the top 2-4 that make you feel the best. Try to do these at least every other day if not every day for best results.

If one exercise doesn’t make you feel good, that is okay! Move on to the next one. 

1. Foot doming

This exercise may feel a little weird at first but it’s so important for healthy feet! The idea is to work hard to keep all of your toes on the ground as you make an arch with your foot.

This will help to strengthen the arch of your foot. Complete 5-10 reps of this one. The good news it can be done easily when sitting watching tv or at the computer! 

2. Toe curls

Use a hand towel or a washcloth on a slippery floor for this exercise. Move the towel further towards you by curling your toes. This exercise works those tiny muscles in your toes to help bring more stability to your foot.

Complete 3-4 reps of curling the towel all the way towards you.

3. Foot rolling

When you have ankle arthritis, it is important to keep the mobility in both your ankles and your feet. Many times, your feet and toes can become stiff. Certain self massage techniques can help to bring relief to your feet and ankles. 

This is because massage can help bring blood flow to the area. Blood helps to transport inflammation out of the joints and to the “trash”. Using one of these spiky balls can help to bring more blood flow to the area.

This technique would be great to use if you are sitting for a long period of time and want to prevent your foot from getting stiff. It would also be helpful when you are dealing with an increase in pain.

This is my favorite foot massage kit because it comes with 3 different objects you can use. If your feet are sensitive, I would highly recommend this. Even if they aren’t sensitive, you may find you like one texture over the other.

4. Banded Ankle Press Outs

You will need a longer resistance band for this one (these are my favorite brand). This exercise helps to stretch out the muscle that is on your shin and also gets your calf working too! Both play vital roles in your foot and ankle.

Try to complete 5-10 of these. The slower you go and the more resistance you have, the harder it will be. 

5. Calf Raises

Your calf muscles play a role in your ankle stability which is why they made this ankle arthritis exercise list! Raise up on your toes and then slowly let your heels come back down to the floor. You can do this on a step to increase the intensity. 

Complete 15-20 reps and use upper body support if needed as this can challenge your balance. Try to reach full range of motion at the top.

6. Banded foot eversion/inversion

You will need a small circle band to complete this. Get our EXCLUSIVE Keep the Adventure Alive Bands HERE. Eversion is when your foot goes away from your body and inversion is when you are going closer to your body. 

This one can be a little tricky as the movement is a small one. Start with a light resistance band and work your way up. Complete 10-12 reps each direction, focusing on the most painful side.

7. Multi directional stepping

This exercise helps you to gain more confidence putting weight on one leg. You can use support of a kitchen counter or chair initially if you do experience pain putting a majority of your weight on one leg.

You will put most of your weight on one leg and tap forward-sideways-backwards with the other. To make this the most difficult, try to tap as light as possible.

Complete 8 revolutions (forward-sideways-backwards = 1) and then switch to the other side.

8. TRX Rotational Balance

This exercise is great if you aren’t super confident in your balance. The TRX straps will give you some support when trying to build your ankle stability. Balance exercises are some of THE most important when it comes to ankle arthritis exercises. If you don’t have suspension straps, I highly recommend you get some, this is my favorite budget-friendly option HERE. (Here’s my article on the 10 BEST TRX leg exercises for more inspiration!)

Stand with one foot in front of the other. Make sure you have your balance before you begin moving.

Move the band side to side and keep your feet as stationary as you can. Start with 30 seconds on one side and 30 seconds on the other. 

Keep in mind, the foot in the back is going to be doing most of the work so you may want to start with the less painful side in the back, just so you know what to expect!

9. Tandem band pass

Grab one of our EXCLUSIVE resistance bands for this balance exercise. Now we lose the straps and use a resistance band to pass back and forth. You can also use a different object too, something that only weighs a pound or two. The heavier the object, the harder it will be.

Stand with one foot in front of the other one for this exercise too. Make your feet a little wider if you have a hard time in this position.

Try to hold for 30 seconds to start and increase the time as you are able. Check out my top 5 favorite balance exercises in this article! 

10. Elevated tandem with head turns

This helps you to prepare to stand on one foot.  It can also be harder than it looks!

Use a lightweight object, like a cone or a tissue box, something that you can only apply light pressure to before it moves or breaks. The idea is to put most of your weight in your back foot and keep virtually no weight in the front.

Once you master this, you can add in head turns. You may be surprised at how hard this is!

Try to complete for 20-30 seconds to start and increase time as able.

11. Small hops

This can be a difficult exercise if you have ankle arthritis. But, if you have mastered all of the above exercises, try to add this one. Listen to your body and if it says “woah I’m not ready for this” evidenced usually by significant pain, modify.

I like starting this one with both hands on a kitchen counter, a walker, or the back of a sturdy couch or chair. Jump up and down as high as you feel comfortable with to start. 

Conclusion

Find a few of these exercises that are appropriate for you. You can determine this by monitoring your pain during and after. If you notice pain >5/10 during or after, that is a sign from your joints it’s time to modify or choose something else.

You want to make sure you take care of your feet and ankles because they are vital for almost everything we need to do during the day! These 11 ankle arthritis exercises can help you stay healthy and limber.

Oftentimes I get asked if there if there is anything you could be doing to reverse osteoarthritis. The answer is yes! I put my top five action steps when it comes to reversing osteoarthritis below. Download the free guide today and get on the list to receive our newsletter every week.

Dr Alyssa Kuhn walking backwards

Walking Backwards: New Answer For Arthritis Sufferers Who Want To Lead A Happy, Active Life in 2021

What if simply changing the direction you are walking could actually REDUCE your arthritis pain. It can be as easy as walking backwards! A recent study showed that “a 6-week retro walking program compared with forward walking or control groups resulted in greater reduction in pain and functional disability and improved quadriceps muscle strength and performance in individuals with knee [osteoarthritis].” If you love walking, this is great news, especially with knee osteoarthritis. Let’s dive deeper into why walking backwards is so good for you.

When is the last time you walked or even ran backwards? I’d have to imagine it has been awhile. Maybe the last time was at a soccer practice 40 years ago😜

If so, fear not. Walking backwards isn’t typically something we do in our daily lives. But, I just had a 93 year old patient master walking backwards. You can too. 

Why all this talk about walking in reverse? 

There has been a multitude of research studies looking at the benefits of moving backwards compared to forwards. What they have found is actually kind of amazing. That simply changing one thing about your walking can open up an amazing opportunity for arthritis pain relief.

Why walking backwards over forwards: the muscles

The difference between walking backwards and walking forwards can be boiled down to one main thing: which muscles are working. 

If you are somewhere where you can stand up, do me a favor and start walking forwards. Notice which parts of your feet hit the ground first. Typical walking is heel contact then toe contact to push off. See the diagram below from Foot Bionics.

Forward walking tends to put more force through your knees and low back because the heel is contacting first.

walking forwards
Notice the heel contacts first at IC and toe contacts at TO.

Now, try to walk backwards. Notice how your feet change. Your toes hit the ground first followed by your heels.

An article in Prevention states, “When you walk backward, the ball of your toe strikes the ground first, which distributes the shock over a greater surface area and leads to a softer impact.”

According to Hyun-Gyu Cha et al. 2019, “backward walking has less impact on the kneecaps and patello-femoral joints as the metatarsal joints come in contact with the surface first.” This means that if you tend to have pain in or around your knee caps, you may experience less pressure thus less irritation!

What’s also interesting is that your thigh muscles actually work harder when walking backwards. Thigh muscles are incredibly important when helping to stabilize and decrease irritation of the knee. Stronger thighs are one of the major keys to overcoming knee osteoarthritis. Find out everything you need to know about knee osteoarthritis here.

Research has shown that walking backwards actually activates more muscles than walking forwards does. Why is this important? You can actually burn more energy and calories walking backwards! 🔥

Balancing Backwards

If you tried walking backwards while reading above, you may have noticed it feels a little strange. Maybe you felt like you were even going to lose your balance. This is totally normal.

When we try new exercises and new ways of moving, our body needs a little bit of time to learn the movement. But something great about learning how to walk or even run backwards? It can improve your balance!

One of the surefire ways to improve your balance is to introduce variety into your training routine. Constantly doing the same exercises over and over again doesn’t challenge your body. You will reach a point where your body is used to the movements. This can actually lead to a decline in balance when put in other situations. 

For example, if walking forwards is one of your only forms of exercise, when you are put in a position where you have to walk backwards or cross your feet to avoid an obstacle, you may lose your balance. This is because your body is not used to these movements.

Learn my top 5 favorite balance exercises here.

How do I get started?

Walking backwards can be a little scary at first. One of the best ways to begin trying is doing it where you have support. Many times I have clients walk backwards down a hallway where they can use the wall to stabilize. Other times you can try it along a counter if you have one big enough. You can also have someone follow behind you just in case!

We want to make sure you have a clear path because it can be harder to see and navigate a busy floor. Make sure all obstacles are out of the way and you know where the floor thresholds are if you have them. We don’t want any tripping!

Here are the steps to getting started walking backwards:

  1. Start by just simply getting comfortable walking backwards. Take a few steps around your house in a safe environment.
  2. Then, walk forwards about 10-15 steps and walk backwards 10-15 steps for 3-4 times through. 
  3. Once you have mastered that, increase the distance you are going. The longer you ask your body to walk backwards, the more muscle activity you have (which is a good thing!). 
  4. You can then progress to trying to walk backwards up hills. This is only for those that feel confident doing this.
  5. The last step is mastering running backwards. Make sure you have done quite a few reps of walking before progressing to running without any stumbles or loss of balance. I always advise you have someone close by when you are getting started.

Not just for the knees!

If you have degenerative disc disease, chronic back or hip pain, or even ankle arthritis- walking backwards can help those too!

Notice how when you are walking backwards, your posture changes. When walking forwards, you may notice you lean forward or even arch your back (this is common with back muscle tightness). 

When you walk in reverse, you tend to adopt more of an upright posture. You are working your back and leg muscles in a different way. This can lead to increasing the stretch and decreasing the tension of the muscles. 

Our bodies love variety. If you find yourself constantly moving in a forward direction, some muscles can get overworked. This can change the way we move and thus lead to more pain. 

When moving backwards, we use our postural muscles a little differently. We challenge different muscles to work a little harder. This is when the magic happens.

For example, according to the Idaho State Journal, “The large muscle complex called the Iliopsoas muscle, that allows your forward stride, attaches to your lumbar spine and can be implicated in several back problems and pain syndromes.” This muscle can get overworked when we are getting lots of reps walking forwards. Changing it up by adding in backwards walking can alleviate some of that stress!

Conclusion

Walking backwards has tremendous benefits if you have arthritis in your spine, knees, hips, and ankles. Simply adding it into your current routine can help to even the stress your joints are absorbing.

Be careful when first getting acclimated as there is a risk for losing your balance. Once your body becomes used to the movement, you have lots of options to progress!

If you loved this article and want more fantastic and motivating information about arthritis download the Ultimate Arthritis Guide HERE.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

arthritis and sports

Can I Play Sports if I Have Arthritis?! 5 Patient Stories of Arthritis and Sports in 2021

Have you been told arthritis and sports don’t mix? If so, I’m glad you’re here. High impact activity is actually possible, even if you have arthritis! Many times, the first thing you hear with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is you also have to give up all high impact activity. BUT, according to the research, high impact activity is actually good for our cartilage if our joints are appropriately prepared! This makes sports like tennis, golf, running, skiing, and others totally possible. This is what Keep the Adventure Alive is all about, showing you that you don’t have to rule out adventure just because of an arthritis diagnosis, even if it feels that way now. 

Are sports bad for my joints?

One of the main reasons you may be told to avoid sports if you have arthritis is the nature of the sport itself. Many sports include jumping, changing directions quickly, running, and other stressful movements, especially for the legs. We are typically told, no high impact activities in fear of creating more damage in our joints.

But, as it turns out, avoiding high impact exercises can actually do more harm than good! High impact exercises like jumping are a powerful way to build stronger joints. There has even been research pointing to the fact that jumping (read our in depth article on jumping here) can increase cartilage strength.

One study from 2015 looked at the effect on jumping and cartilage integrity with those with mild osteoarthritis. The quality of the cartilage behind the knee cap and in the knee joint itself actually improved with jumping and other rapid movements! 😱

Another study in 2020 did jump testing with those who were diagnosed with hip or knee osteoarthritis, stage 2 and higher. They challenged people to stand and jump as high as they could. They measured the power they were able to generate. The mean age was 75, so this study wasn’t just on young people!

They found that those with decreased muscular power and jump height actually had more severe osteoarthritis symptoms. Those that could jump higher had less severe symptoms!

Sport such as tennis, pickleball, basketball, volleyball, football and soccer can be considered higher impact due to the requirements of running and changing directions. These are the sports we are typically told to avoid by doctors, surgeons, or other healthcare professionals. 

Other sports like golf, table tennis, fishing, and fencing may be somewhat of a lower impact as large, rapid movements aren’t as common. These are usually more recommended than the previous. 

But, I’m here to tell you that both types of sports are possible with arthritis. You don’t have to give up your sports adventures.

**It is important to keep in mind that you may need to adjust how you play these sports or have a longer recovery time compared to your younger years. 

Benefits of Arthritis and Sports

There are many reasons why you should be participating in sports if you have arthritis but here are the 3 main reasons in my opinion! These are also discussed in the video above! Let’s take a deeper look: 

  • Sports typically have a high degree of social interaction. I know you may have been thinking the first reason was going to be physical! Social connection can be extremely beneficial if you have arthritis. Arthritis can feel lonely, isolating, and depressing. This can have a dramatic impact on our mental health. Our motivation can begin to wane and we begin to move less- moving us into a downward spiral. Sports can be a way to connect with other people and increase our motivation to keep moving!
  • Sports help to add variety to our movement. Lack of variety is one of the biggest contributing factors to osteoarthritis in my opinion. We don’t move side to side or backwards very often; our lives are typically lived in a forward direction. Sports force us to explore new directions and new ways of moving. This allows you to stress different parts of the joint instead of stressing the same part over and over again!
    • One caveat to variety, is if you are playing a sport that requires you to do highly repetitive movements such as tennis or fencing- you will need to add in a little extra variety to even out the other movements
  • Muscle strength and power, as we saw above, can be predictive in terms of severity of osteoarthritis symptoms. When we are playing sports, we are able to build and challenge both of these things, compared to relying on simple walking for exercise. Hitting a golf ball, throwing a basketball, swinging a tennis racquet- all of these require power from both arms and legs!

5 Real Patient Stories who are thriving in sports

All of this talk about research and sports and arthritis is great but are real people able to live with arthritis and play sports?! The answer is YES. I want to share 5 stories of real clients that have found ways to thrive even with arthritis! 

Arthritis and Tennis

Leo is in his 60s and has been regularly running recreationally as well as playing tennis 1-2 times per week with his friends. He developed knee osteoarthritis as well as a Baker’s cyst behind his knee. The swelling, stiffness, and instability began to make tennis and running impossible. He became fearful of having to change directions quickly and chasing the ball down. He dealt with these symptoms for a few years before finally saying, that’s enough!

After a few weeks with Keep the Adventure Alive, he noticed a significant decrease in swelling and began feeling confident on his knee again. He was able to chase the ball down without feeling like his knee wasn’t going to support him. He even began running intervals again!

To him, sports are important both socially and physically. He didn’t want to accept that arthritis was going to take them away from him. He now will continue to build strength and power to set himself up for success for a long future of sports!

Arthritis and Fencing

sports with arthritis- fencing

Lyn had suffered a fall off of a mountain bike and aggravated her shoulder with a few sprains to her muscles and labrum. When they did the MRI, they also found evidence of shoulder arthritis because these changes are very common as we age. She had been fencing for a just a couple of years and now was unable to compete because of her right shoulder. 

While we were taking care of the right shoulder, she began to train with her left hand. She ended up winning a bronze medal in a competition! But worked very hard in the process to get her right shoulder back to competition level.

With consistency and determination, she has been able to return to practicing with her right arm. She is on the road to getting back to her dominant hand and on a path to get to Nationals! How awesome right?! 

If you’re not familiar with fencing, it is a great option for those who want to learn a new sport and a new way of moving! 

Arthritis and Hiking

Staci has always been an avid hiker and backpacker. She would go with family and friends on multiple day hikes and camping adventures until her knee pain began to slow her down. She was diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis and searching for ways to keep hiking! 

Her knee pain kept waking her up at night. She was having difficulty walking up and down the stairs in her home. She was also dealing with occasional knee swelling. 

We began working together. She built stronger legs and was able to squat down without pain in just a few weeks! She never thought that would be possible again.

Then she began jumping and starting to include running into her training without pain or swelling afterwards. Before we met, she felt like she always “paid for it” after doing these things in the past. Now, she is strong and confident. 

She has a backpacking trip scheduled this month and has been hiking- one trail was over 1000 feet of elevation gain. She didn’t experience any pain afterwards!

knee arthritis exercise pdf

Arthritis and Skiing

Shauna had been dealing with crackly, noisy knees for a few years now. Her knees started to feel unstable and she was not able to bend her knees to get into different yoga poses. 

She was also having difficulties with both shoulders. They were tight and limited in certain motions. 

She loved skiing and didn’t want to have to miss another ski season because she didn’t feel confident in her knees to support her down the mountain. She took action and sought out help to get her knees feeling confident again. She wanted her shoulders to be able to tolerate holding her poles and pushing off on flat ground.

We worked on her single leg confidence, power, and strength to reach her goals. With her ambition and commitment to the program, she was able to make a trip to Steamboat this year as well as ski in Taos and here in Utah. She didn’t experience pain or swelling afterwards. 

Arthritis doesn’t have to ruin skiing! Check out more on skiing here.

Arthritis and Golf

Steven was dealing with back pain from degenerative disc disease and occasional back muscle spasms that became so severe, he would be laid up on the couch for 2-3 hours afterwards. He played golf with his family and friends a few times a month, but couldn’t even imagine swinging a golf club when we met!

He dedicated himself to the process for 3-4 months. He worked diligently to regain his strength and confidence in being able to rotate his back again. We didn’t just stop there though, now he is consistently exercising 5-6 days a week when previously he hadn’t exercised in a few years! 

For him, sport had motivated him to get moving again. The social interaction kept him going and now he is doing better than he ever dreamed was possible!

There is hope for arthritis and sports

Through these stories and lived experiences I want you to take away two things. If you would like arthritis and sports to go together, it is imperative that you take action and stay consistent. These are the two variables that will make you successful! 

It is possible to play sports without aggravating your arthritis pain or “paying for it afterwards”. You just have to get your joints to love movement again. 

If you would like a free guide that will show you the missing links to pain relief that can help you get one step closer to sports and other enjoyable things in life, download it below!  

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

natural remedies for arthritis

Incredible Power of Natural Remedies for Arthritis: 5 things to learn from a patient’s journey

Many aspire to find natural remedies for arthritis and they are able to find life changing pain relief with the right ones. Looking beyond trying to find the exact supplement or specific exercise to do, the success lies in the holistic approach. Surgery and/or pills likely will not lead to longer term pain relief. Instead, there is power in natural remedies for arthritis that can help not only with immediate pain relief but pain relief in the long term too. Let’s look at a patient’s compelling story. 

Here at Keep the Adventure Alive we are all about instilling hope and optimism to those that have arthritis. I love sharing patient success stories because I want you to see that it is possible to thrive with arthritis.

It may not look like total pain relief or a cure of the condition. This patient went from chronic pain in multiple joints to tolerable pain that didn’t limit her in higher level activities like golf and mountain biking.

Your arthritis adventure is possible.

Let's meet pearl

This patient’s name is changed for privacy reasons but Pearl was the name of my old car so that’s what we will go with (haha!). I want to share this story because I want you to imagine yourself in this situation. You may even share some of the same thoughts, pains, and history! I want these natural remedies for arthritis to become very real for you. I promise is not the typical “voodoo” healing powers you may have read about.

This is real. This patient is real. The results are real.

Her background

Pearl, 57 year old female, came to me during a seminar about knee arthritis at a running because she had begun experiencing knee pain in the past couple of months. She had to stop running and really wanted to get back to it. 

After meeting Pearl, I found out so much more. She was dealing with more than just knee pain. Many times when it comes to arthritis, pain can be experienced in many different areas.

Here is a little of her history: 

  • Multiple shoulder surgeries to both shoulders but left causing more difficulty than right- impacting her golf swing
  • Previous injury to her left ankle from a fall off of a mountain bike 1 year ago with continued pain 
  • Recent left inside knee pain that she has begun to feel when walking longer distances and coming down hills 
  • Recent feelings of disappointment and anxiety around having to give up her active lifestyle because of all of these pains
  • Osteoporosis diagnosis in the past 2 years

She had tried various types of physical therapy, massage, and minor diet changes but nothing seemed to stick. Her pain kept coming back

Everytime she tried a new exercise program, she ended up making her pain worse, even when she tried a water aerobics class. 

She loved golfing, mountain biking, running, and being active with her husband all over the West. She did not want to give any of that up and was very dedicated to getting back.

Can you relate to any of this? 

What we found

Arthritis and chronic pain relief is so much more than just movement. There are many things that can contribute to pain besides movement! We talked about: 

  • Recent stressors of a home renovation and continued pain that was taking a lot of her energy
  • Foods she was eating- turns out she was not eating enough in general but more specifically was way under on her protein intake (we know how important that is!)
  • Her recent interest in journaling which has helped her develop some coping mechanisms with her pain and other life activities
  • Her thoughts on her pain- she was fearful of pain because everytime she felt pain she thought she was making her shoulder, ankle, or knee worse
  • Medications and supplements she was taking for underlying conditions
  • Strength and balance deficits we found from a movement assessment

Her main goals

Her ultimate goal was to live a happy, adventurous life. She didn’t want to have to slow down. She didn’t want to deal with pain for the rest of her life.

This is a perfect time to think about your goals? If you are reading this you are likely dealing with some sort of joint pain. What do you want? What would you do if you woke up without any pain tomorrow?

Her journey

Here is how we started: 

  • Discussed what pain actually means. Pain does not correlate with more damage which helps to alleviate some fears and anxieties.
  • Completed simple movements that did not flare up pain and had the right amount of support based on where we found the strength and balance deficits.
  • Talked about how to incorporate more protein into her diet and importance of tracking foods to get started.
  • Emphasized the importance of journaling so she could continue to unload her thoughts onto paper so she wasn’t spending so much time and energy on them

Results

With natural remedies for arthritis, out primary focus in on the small wins. These keep us motivated and keep us going! In order to receive these results, Pearl began following the exercise program-15 minutes at least 5 days per week, followed the diet changes at least 75% of the time, and started to shift her thinking about her pain.

In just 4 weeks she experienced: 

  • More energy throughout the day
  • Decreases in severity of all joint pain
  • Decreased occasions of knee pain- stated she was on vacation and “didn’t even notice my knee. I was so happy!”
  • Stronger golf swing. She was hitting the ball further without increase in shoulder pain and more consistently.
  • She didn’t think about pain as much. She knew discomfort was okay and she didn’t have to worry.

Is she completely out of pain? No. But that’s not what these natural remedies are about. The main goal is to build long lasting pain relief and positive life changes.

There is still work to be done but she has so much HOPE.

Albeit small, these changes can start to snowball into amazing changes to her life. The purpose of this journey is to make slow changes so they are much easier to make into long term habits.

If we would’ve just focused on how she moved and focused on giving her exercises- we would have missed out on a huge piece of the puzzle.

Addressing nutrition, her beliefs about pain, and the other contributing factors- we might not have gotten as far as we did in a short period of time.

Just getting an x-ray then being sent to physical therapy where they work on your knee for 4 weeks may work temporarily but pain relief may not stick.

Getting a massage or acupuncture every couple of weeks might make you feel good in the moment but may not last either.

To find long lasting pain relief and unlock your arthritis adventure, the success is in the holistic approach.

How you can find relief

Okay, that’s great for Pearl. Now I know this is possible. But how can I find the same relief and changes she did?!

Some of these natural remedies for pain relief may not work specifically for you and that’s okay! There is a giant box of possibilities. Maybe you need more emotional support, a different change to your diet, more exercise or even a new medication. 

Each person’s arthritis adventure looks a little different but are based on the same general framework: 

  • Exercise your mind before your body
  • Understand your options for pain relief 
  • Follow through with these options
  • Find a way to incorporate it into your daily life
natural remedies for arthritis relief

Keep in mind

When you are trying to find pain relief the journey is almost never completely linear with progress. There are occasional dips while you are trying to achieve control over arthritis. With the right plan, you can get through the flares with confidence instead of fear.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

inflammation reducing foods

15 Amazingly Simple Things You Need to Know About Inflammation Reducing Foods & Habits in 2021 From the Experts

Inflammation reducing foods could be the missing link in your arthritis relief. There is lots of information out there, it can be hard to weed through it all. We went straight to the experts and had an amazing interview with Dr. Ann Kulze of Dr. Ann Wellness. She is an MD, best selling author, motivational speaker and mother of 4 who specializes in nutrition, healthy living, and disease prevention. Here are the 15 Rock-Solid ways to reduce inflammation and finally feel good! 

Here is a summary of this video interview below of the 15 best takeaways including inflammation reducing foods, supplements, and other lifestyle changes that can truly eliminate inflammation! Eliminating inflammation is the first step towards feeling healthy and living your best life, especially with arthritis.

Table of Contents

1. Learn to love onions

Okay so if you don’t like onions, there is still hope! Onions are a part of a family called the Allium family. This family includes: chives, garlic, and leeks too. The Allium family packs a punch when it comes to healthy superfoods. 

According to Dr. Ann Kulze, as well as the Arthritis Foundation, onions and their counterparts can help to reduce cancer risk, improve bone density, and can actually have an anti-inflammatory effect. 

One flavonoid found in onions, called quercetin, has been shown to inhibit inflammation-causing leukotrienes, prostaglandins and histamines in osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), reduce heart disease risk by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol and help prevent the progression of cancer.”

It turns out, yellow and red onions are the best but others have varying degrees of effect. As an inflammation reducing food, this is one that you want to start including in meals if you haven’t already. You can easily do this in salads, sandwiches, vegetable stir frys, and more! 

2. Treat yourself to dark chocolate

Wait, so you’re telling me dark chocolate is actually good for inflammation?!

Yes, that’s correct! If you are looking for a treat and you are dealing with arthritis pain or high levels of inflammation, dark chocolate can actually be beneficial. 

Findings from two studies being presented today at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.”

As an inflammatory reducing food, dark chocolate can help to not only contribute physically to arthritis pain, it can also improve your mood! We know that high levels of stress and anxiety tend to further irritate our already overactive nervous system. 

Next time you are searching for something sweet, instead of going for the ice cream or candy- grab yourself at least a 70% cacao dark chocolate bar! 

But remember…moderation 🙂

3. Get familiar with the superfoods

In our interview above, Dr. Ann Kulze discusses the inflammation reducing superfoods. Not shockingly these foods are those that are whole foods and don’t include any processed foods. 

These foods are primarily plant-based and include foods like fruits, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, oily fish, and more. You can check out the full list of the BEST anti-inflammatory foods that we curated here. It may be best to print this list out, keep it in the kitchen, hang it on the fridge or keep a picture on your phone that you can look at when grocery shopping.

Working on including these superfoods into daily life is a great first step when trying to get inflammation under control, lose weight, and reduce osteoarthritis pain. 

If you would like some recipe ideas or inspiration, Dr. Ann has put together lots of yummy ideas here.

4. Think about fish oil

Caveat being, always make sure you consult your doctor first before starting any supplements because they can interact with certain medications. 

According to Dr. Ann, there is a hierarchy of supplements when it comes to reducing inflammation and fish oil is near the top.

This one is common and usually necessary if you are not eating oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel etc at least 3 times per week. These foods contain long-chain omega 3 fatty acids that are hard to find in other foods. 

Long chain omega-3s are some of the vital building blocks in the processes that help to reduce inflammation.  But, when searching for a fish oil supplement they aren’t all created equal. She advises “Choose high-quality fish oil supplements – look for ‘pharmaceutical grade’ or ‘molecularly distilled’ when purchasing.

5. Get your levels of vitamin d checked

It has been found that upwards of almost 50% of people in the US are deficient in Vitamin D. Many of us may think we get enough vitamin D from the sun but it turns out there are some things that can prevent vitamin D from getting into our bloodstream. These include things like sunscreen, clothing, obesity, diabetes, and others.

Typically done through a blood test, your doctor can very easily check your levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in overall health such as bone density, brain health, immune function, and even inflammation reducing.

Talk to your doctor to see if your vitamin D levels are low. If they are, you could be experiencing signs and symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, inflammation, increased joint pain, among others.

A supplement of vitamin D may be appropriate if you are deficient. According to Dr. Ann, “a blood level between 40 ng/ml to 50 ng/ml is a good target range”.

According to Consumer Lab, these are approved forms of Vitamin D: Webber Naturals® Calcium Citrate Vitamin D3, Garden of Life® mykind Organics Vegan D3 2,000 IU, and Nature Made Vitamin D3.

6. Combination supplements for "Joint health" may be a waste of time

There are always new supplements hitting the market especially targeting those with arthritis and chronic pain. Popular ingredients these tend to contain are glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, among others. Since supplements aren’t federally regulated, there is always a degree of skepticism of if they actually contain what they say they do. 

One recommendation Dr. Ann suggests is to check with Consumer Lab. They review all kinds of different supplements for quality and publicly post the information. 

These types of supplements should be in combination with inflammation reducing foods and a regular exercise routine. These should not be taken as your only defense against inflammation because they will not be effective. 

These joint combinations are one of those things that if you take them for a few months and you notice a change in pain, keep taking them. If you don’t notice a change, don’t waste your time with them. 

7. Turmeric is one of the most powerful inflammation reducing spices

Some take this in a capsule but Turmeric is one of the most powerful spices when it comes to tackling inflammation. This spice can work wonders for the human body because of the phytochemicals found in it. 

Turmeric is not only great for arthritis and other chronic pains, it also is magical for the brain. Adding a few dashes to food can make a profound difference on inflammation. If you are not a fan of it, you can also take it in a capsule form but make sure you talk to your doctor first.

Not sure which one to get? According to Consumer Lab, this is one of the most quality forms of turmeric.

8. Mother nature's sugar is not bad

Fruits are some of the top inflammation reducing foods out there. Many times we demonize all types of sugar but according to Dr. Ann this sugar is one of the necessities. There are some fruits that are more beneficial than others including: apples, citrus, berries, cantaloupe, and kiwi to start.

Now processed sugars on the other hand, we should stay away from. High fructose corn syrup is one of the main culprits. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “What’s even worse, Dr. Hyman notes, is high doses of fructose “punch little holes in your intestinal lining, causing what we call a leaky gut.” He explains that this allows foreign food proteins and bacterial proteins to enter into your bloodstream, which triggers inflammation, makes you gain weight and causes type 2 diabetes”

Natural sugars found in fruits are totally fine especially if you have arthritis. You want to try to consume at least 3-4 servings per day for optimum results. 

9. Vegetables should be your friend

Vegetables can provide vitamins, nutrients, and other anti-inflammatory properties especially for those struggling with osteoarthritis. It’s no secret vegetables are good for us but they are also a part of inflammation reducing foods group. 

Focusing on dark green leafy vegetables is key. Dr. Ann recommends broccoli sprouts, best ate raw. She loves adding them to salads to get her daily intake. 

Ideally, we want to get at least 4-5 servings of vegetables per day. One of the recommendations is to begin slowly adding more vegetables to your meals, i.e replacing typical dinner side from noodles to broccoli. Small wins can make all of the difference.

If you want to know the other foods that are a part of the inflammation reducing foods group, download our free ebook here.

10. Understand the power that food holds

Understand that you have the power to manage your inflammation, manage your arthritis pain, and manage your weight by what you are putting in your mouth. 

If we continue to be complacent with what we are putting in our bodies, we aren’t accepting responsibility for our health. 

The only way you will see positive changes in arthritic joints, overall mood, weight, and sleep quality- you have to change something. As Dr. Ann says, the greater the change you make, the greater the change you will see on the other side. 

Realize that you are holding the power.

11. inflammation reducing foods don't work alone

Food has one of the biggest impacts on our inflammation levels. What you are feeding your body up to 12-18 hours a day can make a dramatic difference on inflammation and therefore arthritis pain. 

Food is only one piece of the puzzle. The interesting thing, though, is when you eat healthier, you are more likely to participate in other healthy habits. This includes regular exercise, positive self-talk, and social engagements.

One of the most important things that works in conjunction with healthy eating is positive exercise routines. Our bodies are meant to eat plants and move. So we have to do those things in order to life a healthy life. There are some things that are out of our control but keeping these two things in line can dramatically reduce our risk for LOTS of chronic diseases.

12. There is a right type of exercise

Not all exercise is created equally, especially when dealing with arthritic joints. Exercise should not cause you significant pain if you are doing the right type of exercise. 

When we have arthritis it is important to make sure we are keeping our joints healthy. Contrary to popular belief, you are able to run, hike, bike, and do high impact activities like jumping with arthritis

Shocking right?! 

In order to continue to do these things or return to doing these things, it is important our joints are prepared.

Walking is a common form of exercise for those with arthritis. BUT If you are solely walking for exercise, there are potentially lots of other muscles you are neglecting that you might not even know! Walking isn’t inherently bad but variety is key to success with osteoarthritis- check out what you should be doing below.

13. A professional that listens to you can catapult you to success

It can be hard in the traditional medical system to find a healthcare professional that takes the time to listen to your concerns about inflammation and osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, most of the time we are told “no running, no jumping, lose weight, and exercise” and sent on our way. 

The problem is, most of the time, these general guidelines don’t lead to success. There is no plan. Without a plan or accountability, adherence can be really hard! 

At Keep the Adventure Alive we listen to your stores, we listen to your goals, and show you how to make them happen. 

For example, running is one of the first things that is ruled out with knee osteoarthritis which can be devastating, especially to those that love it. High impact activities are a close second.

We have helped our clients get back to running, enjoy hiking again, return to downhill skiing and more! 

We don’t want to be stuck on a path trying to figure out what we can do and instead end up giving up all activity! 

My main mission is to inject positivity and optimism into your diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Your life doesn’t have to end as you know it. With the right plan, dedication, and accountability- your dreams and goals can still come true. 

Learn more about our services here.

14. Action is key

If we don’t take action, our inflammation can become a real problem. Not only with more arthritis pain but other chronic disease such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, increased stroke risk, Alzheimer’s disease, and others! 

If you are currently on a path where you find yourself in pattern of eating foods that aren’t good for you and not moving or exercising, this path can be dangerous. 

In order to thrive with optimal health we need a combination of inflammation reducing foods, a regular exercise plan, and a positive mindset. 

We have to take action. We can’t wait for tomorrow. We can’t wait for someone else to start for us. You are responsible for your future.

Too often we see people are waiting too long to take action. The longer we wait, the deeper the hole is we have to try to climb out of. It’s time to take action today.

15. Believe you can do this

If you firmly believe that you can change your habits, you will. If you go into diet changes or new exercise programs with the mindset “this isn’t going to work”- it won’t. 

There has been so much research that you can reduce inflammation- you can change our arthritis pain. You don’t have to live in pain or in poor health just because you are 50, 60, etc. 

In this society, we tend to be reactive to our health. We wait until our pain is so severe or our health is so out of control before seeking help. Instead, the most success comes to those who are proactive. Understanding how to prevent chronic disease will allow you to lead a long, healthy, adventurous life. 

There aren’t any guarantees in life but it’s time to play your cards as best as you can for the best odds.

 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

running with knee arthritis

Running with Arthritis Knee Pain: 5 Things You NEED to Know From the Experts

Running with arthritis knee pain is actually possible, although many healthcare professionals are very quick to tell you that you can’t. What if you found out that running is actually good for your joints? Or that you don’t have to give up running because you have arthritic knees? Research has shown that running can help to rebuild cartilage and your joints need the ground reaction force in order to function properly! Running also helps to build lower body strength and stamina that are necessary for everyday life. 

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An all too common situation, how many of you can relate?:

You are out running and you start to feel moderate knee pain that doesn’t seem to go away, even if you try to ignore it.

You take a few days off and try to run again; the knee pain is back

After a month or two of rest. you try again and your knee pain is worse. You think to yourself, okay something must be wrong with my knee.

You go see a physician or a surgeon and they take an x-ray of your knee. 

You have signs of knee osteoarthritis” they say.

Unfortunately you can no longer run because you have virtually no cartilage left. Stick to low impact activities like swimming and biking.” 

You are left to walk out of the office with your head down because you LOVE running and now you can no longer do it for the rest of your life.

Raise your hand if you would be ecstatic if you found out you didn't have to give up running.

running with arthritis knee pain

One of the biggest misconceptions around arthritis is that running is bad for arthritic joints. This is simply not true.

You are in fact able to run with knee arthritis.

I recently chatted with Brodie Sharpe, a physiotherapist based out of Melbourne, Australia who specializes in treating runners of all ages.

We had such an empowering conversation I wanted to make sure you knew these TOP 5 things that we talked about.

If you want to run but have been told you have a form of knee arthritis or are dealing with chronic knee pain, you won’t want to stop reading!

The good news!

Oftentimes we are told that “running causes further damage to our joints” and high impact activities are going to “make arthritis worse”.

But, contrary to popular belief, research has told us over and over again that running is beneficial to the cartilage of our joints. 

Look at what this study found:

“Among individuals over 50 years of age with knee [osteoarthritis], running was not associated with longitudinal worsening knee pain or radiographically defined structural progression.”

Running with knee arthritis pain can be tricky but we will be the first to tell you that it is possible.

I recently had a client who was diagnosed with knee arthritis and totally related to the situation described above. She was told she had to stop running and buy a recumbent bike for her home. She used running not only for physical health but mental health as well. She was so sad that she had to give it up.

She lost all hope and gained a hatred for the recumbent bike. She decided to search out some of her options and stumbled upon Keep the Adventure Alive. 

We met and she was SO excited there was hope again. After dedication and commitment she is back out on the trails, feeling better than ever.

She believed it was possible and learned so much about her arthritis along the way. Turns out, she was believing all the wrong things. We want to clear these things up for you below! 

5 Things you must know about running with arthritis knee pain

Here are the most important topics we discussed in the interview above. For more details, watch the full interview!

  1. Pain does not mean damage. Usually, when we experience pain, that signals in our brain that something is wrong. Pain is what triggers most people to stop running, especially when they are exhibiting other signs of arthritis like joint stiffness and instability. Discomfort and mild pain levels are actually okay when running and it doesn’t mean your joint is getting more damaged!
  2. Our joints need stress! If we only rely on low impact exercise like swimming and cycling, we could actually be doing our joints a disservice. Our cartilage can get weakened if we don’t put stress through our joints. The popular beliefs about arthritis make us think that the more we “rest” and the “less stress we put through our joints the better”. Following these thoughts are likely making your pain worse. 
  3. Don’t forget about cross training. Adding in strength training exercises into your week can make or break your success in running with arthritis knee pain. Maintaining your leg strength can make running feel so much easier and enjoyable. The stronger your legs are, the more support your joints will feel. We agreed that the most important exercises are squats, step ups, single leg squats, single leg balance and hopping (wait, I can JUMP with arthritis, tell me more!).
  4. Be aware of your running volume. If you experience pain flares and swelling during or up to 48 hours after a run, this could be a sign that your joints aren’t happy with the amount you are running. They may be saying “hey, let’s maybe not run so much next week”. This is common when we have a sudden spike in how many miles we are running in a week, likely if you are training for a race or event. If you start having pain, it could simply be a volume issue! 
  5. Take the time to learn. The hardest part about running with arthritis knee pain is weeding through all of the common myths that are out there. We have to keep moving, we have to keep exercising. If we stop, pain will likely get worse. Often we think that arthritis is caused by “wear and tear” thus making us think that movement is harming our joints. In reality, movement is doing the absolute opposite, our cartilage LOVES exercise (learn more about specific exercise benefits here). 

Running is actually recommended if you have knee arthritis! In order to set yourself up for success, you have to make sure your mind and your joints are ready to take on the miles ahead. 

One of the first things you can do is download the TOP 3 Myths About Knee Pain That Almost EVERYONE Believes. You can get it instantly below. 

Once you read these three myths, your mind will change regarding your arthritis. If you believe you can do it, you’re already 75% of the way there. With arthritis, our mind can oftentimes get in the way more than our actual pain can. 

Finding a healthcare professional that you trust and won’t just tell you to give up running is KEY. There are definitely ways you can keep running with knee arthritis pain, don’t let someone take away your dreams.

We want you to know that running is possible.

You can do this. If you would like to know more running specific information, follow Brodie’s Run Smarter Podcast!

Don’t give up on something you love. We can make it happen! If you would like more support, head on over and join our FREE Private Facebook Community.

stairs with knee arthritis

5 Things to Avoid When it Comes to Stairs with Knee Arthritis: The TRUTH About How To Stop Dreading Stairs And Hills

Stairs can seem frustrating, scary, and dreadful if you are experiencing knee arthritis. What if I told you it was possible to stop dreading stairs with knee arthritis if you avoided these five things?! Well, it’s true! If you avoid cluttering stairs, limping, carrying objects, losing balance, and surrendering- your life will change. I have seen it happen over and over again with so many people who thought they would never be able to climb up or down stairs “normally” again! Learn more below.

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We asked real people living with knee arthritis how they felt about stairs…can you relate?

“Stairs is just awkward for me. It’s not the pain that’s the worst, although I have a little pain, it’s just really awkward.”

I’m always frightened of falling downstairs.”

“Going up and down stairs are a problem for me. I have 35 stairs from my front door to my car! Kills me every day!”

I do better going down stairs instead of upstairs. The pain is horrible. I have 6 stairs to get in my house and 6 steps up from kitchen to den. It’s really difficult.”

“I’m not too good at stairs with knee arthritis no matter which direction I’m going! This is why I have a single level home”

“It’s hard for me to watch my young grandkids because they always want to go up and down the stairs and I can’t keep up!”

Have any of you felt this way before about stairs with knee arthritis?!

Turns out that many people think stairs are actually HARMFUL to your joints. The answer is actually quite the opposite! You can read a previous post where I explain if stairs are good for osteoarthritis!
Let’s learn a little more…
stairs with knee arthritis

The problem with stairs and knee arthritis

One of my recent clients was actually fearful of stairs because she thought going up and down the stairs actually made her knee arthritis worse! And let me tell you, she’s not the only one. In the comments above, others feel the exact same way. People have changed where they live because of the pain. 

So, why are stairs such a problem?!

For a majority of people, going down the stairs can be more difficult than going up. This is because you are trying to control your leg against gravity trying to pull it down. Without the right amount of strength, this becomes very difficult and puts abnormal stress through your knee joints.

If you have difficulty going up the stairs and feel like you are death gripping the railing, strength deficits are likely also at play here too. When climbing the stairs with knee arthritis, you have to be able to support your entire body weight. If you can’t, this is where the railing can become super helpful.

In both of these scenarios, this abnormal loading over and over again can lead to more pain. Struggling up and down the stairs can be extremely limiting to daily life along with any adventures you may go on! Hills act the same way. 

Avoiding certain movements and behaviours can help you tackle any stairs and/or hills that come your way. 

Understand what is possible

Before we go any further, I want you to know that climbing stairs with knee arthritis won’t damage your joint IF your joints are ready for it! The idea of learning the things to avoid is going to set you up for success in preparing your knees to climb stairs with ease. But first, I want to give you a sneak peek into some of the things my clients did to make stairs a breeze now. 

What should you avoid when climbing stairs?

1. If you have pain with stairs, avoid trying to carry anything in your hands.

Okay, but who is going to carry the laundry or the holiday decorations up and down the stairs?! 

This is a common mistake that can be very dangerous especially if you are not confident in your ability to go up and down the stairs. 

If your joint is experiencing abnormal loading already due to strength deficits and lack of muscle control, adding on extra weight can make things much more painful. Having one hand occupied can also be dangerous to your balance if you are not confident in your knee(s). 

If you need to carry we recommend using a bag that you can put over your shoulder to carry up or down the stairs. Those reusable grocery bags work great for this. You could also use a drawstring bag for small items too! 

When carrying something larger, you can set it on the stairs and move it up as you go. Coming down may be a little trickier with larger objects. One safe way to do this could be going down the stairs backwards, moving the object down to the stair 1-2  above you.

Both ways can be helpful if you need to take something up or down the stairs with you without sacrificing your safety! Stairs do require extra concentration when carrying and maneuvering objects, so it is crucial you only try what you are comfortable with!  

2. Avoid cluttering stairs with loose objects

messy stairs

This one is pretty straightforward. When tackling stairs with pain, any distraction or obstacle becomes even more dangerous. Keeping stairs clear can make your journey up and down so much easier! 

3. Avoid limping up or down the stairs

I know this can sound very challenging because when we find ourselves limping we usually don’t have the control to stop. This can lead to a higher fall risk down the stairs, especially if you don’t have confidence in your leg(s).

There are strategies you can use to help prevent limping when going up or down the stairs. Let’s take a look:

  • Using a stair rail can likely provide the support you need, especially when going up the stairs. Ideally, there would be rails on both sides  
  • Using a cane can be extremely helpful, even if it is just temporary or if you use it during a flare up.

Also it is important to note that when you are limping, you are putting abnormal loads through parts of your joints that may not appreciate it. The goal is to keep your walking and stair climbing as normal as possible (I know it is easier said than done!). The less compensations we can learn, the happier our joints will be. 

4. Avoid losing your balance

This answer is two-fold because the obvious is DUH! you don’t want to lose your balance and fall down the stairs. This becomes much more of an issue if you don’t train your balance. Goes with the saying “Use it or LOSE it!”

When you are doing stairs with knee arthritis and really, arthritis in any joint, balance is critical. Not only so you don’t fall but balance is one way your body uses to support yourself.

When going up and down the stairs, you are asking each leg to carry your entire body weight for a brief period of time. To keep your balance and allow for this to happen without pain, you need your muscles to all be on the same page. This is what balance is.

If they aren’t on the same page, you will end up with more pain and more difficulty with going up and down the stairs. The good news? There is an easy way to fix this. 

This is a great video to start with to improve your single leg balance:

But these alone may not be enough. Many times I find that people have more success with a plan in place. With our 3 Stair Climbing Secrets Program Every Go Getter with Arthritis Needs to Know  you will learn exactly what it takes to improve your balance enough to be able to tackle any stairs or hills that come your way! 

5. Avoid throwing in the white flag with stairs

Stairs and hills can be frustrating and so painful to our joints if we don’t take the right steps towards success. Cheryl, a client of mine, was going  up the stairs one at a time with a death grip on the railing for the past 3 years. She thought this is what life will be like forever.

We began working together and after 5 weeks, she was climbing up the stairs one after the other and was shocked that it finally did not have to take her 30 minutes to navigate a flight of stairs!

Without action, she would have continued to get slower and weaker, to the point where she would’ve had to move her bedroom downstairs! I have seen it happen time and time again. 

We have to get in front of our knee pain and realize that we can actually change our pain. Want to know the biggest thing that is standing in your way? What you believe about your knee pain. Most of the time, the things we think that are true about our knee pain can be the very things that are holding us back on activities like the stairs.

What if I told you that I created a guide just for you, explaining each of these 3 myths so that way you don’t have to try to weed through all of the information out there to decide what is true and what isn’t. 

Even better? It’s free. Download below.

Conclusion:

There are things you can avoid when climbing up and down stairs that can make your experience so much easier and with much less pain! This is true even for those with knee arthritis. Follow the above recommendations can make stairs with knee arthritis much more doable.

Understanding that stairs are not bad for arthritic knees and taking the valid steps to improving ability can make a world of difference. As a physical therapist I have seen it happen time and time again! 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

is jumping safe for osteoarthritis?

Is Jumping Safe for Osteoarthritis?: Why You Should Be Doing Jumping Exercises in 2021

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Contrary to popular belief, jumping is actually very beneficial if you have mild osteoarthritis. Jumping exercises can slow down progression of knee osteoarthritis and osteoporosis when done correctly. According to the research, “the most important novel finding was that patellar cartilage quality can be improved with the kind of high-impact jumping exercise that has been shown to be beneficial for bone integrity. Importantly, this kind of impact exercise is well tolerated and, in addition, is not harmful to tibiofemoral cartilage” Jumping can improve bone density and improve the cartilage make up instead of hurting it! The most important thing is to make sure your body is ready to add jumping into your training! Let’s find out more.

Muscular weakness is common with osteoarthritis, particularly knee osteoarthritis. This is due to changing mechanics primarily due to joint pain. Many times we decrease physical activity or change our activity to adapt to the pain. With the muscle weakness that usually accompanies decreased activity, knee osteoarthritis can continue to get worse. A systematic review found that with increased weakness to the knee extensors (thigh muscles), there is a 1.65 fold chance knee osteoarthritis symptoms will become worse.

We know that muscle strengthening is good for osteoarthritis as it builds support around the joint and promotes evenly distributed pressure in the joint. The muscles help to absorb some of the shock. With muscular weakness, your joint will take more of the stress, more than it is prepared for, thus pain. You can learn more about the benefits of exercise here.

Why jumping?

Jumping is one way to build not only muscular strength but muscular power which is strength + speed. Muscular power is extremely important for daily activities like stair climbing, climbing hills, running, and even walking. The more power your legs have, the more efficient they are at doing just daily activities. Jumping also increases bone density, particularly in the hip which can help to prevent hip fractures later in life.

Research has shown that decreased muscular leg power is inversely related to knee osteoarthritis symptoms. This means on average, the less leg power, the further progression of osteoarthritis. So, thus the more muscular power, the better your osteoarthritis symptoms such as pain and instability could be!

Research has also shown with general aging, we begin to lose muscular power. With less muscular power, our muscles are not as efficient as they once were and this can then contribute to joint pain and osteoarthritis. This loss of muscular power can be attenuated with high intensity exercises such as jumping. With decreasing power, even daily life activities could become very difficult to complete.

Another study found that muscular power is a significant determinant of knee pain and quality of life. This research has also found that more muscular power can significantly improve your walking ability, ability to go up and down stairs, and squatting.

High intensity exercises like jumping can be one way to build stronger legs but is jumping safe for osteoarthritis?!

If you are able to master jumping with osteoarthritis this could be indicative of the ability to keep adventures alive that include skiing, hiking, biking, and running! You don’t have to automatically give these things up! Read on to see the further benefits.

Is Jumping Safe for Osteoarthritis?

Contrary to popular belief, it can be possible to participate in higher intensity training if you have osteoarthritis.

There have been various studies looking at the feasibility and effectiveness of high intensity activities such as jump training with those with mild osteoarthritis. One in particular, looked at women with menopause who were exhibiting symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. They completed a high intensity exercise plan that increased in intensity 3 times per week.

“Our exercise program had positive effects on patellar cartilage quality, that is, on the structural properties of the collagenous fiber architecture and water content…in postmenopausal women with mild tibiofemoral and patellofemoral OA. Thus, these results highlight the importance of physical activity for knee cartilage characteristics.”

Effects of Exercise on Patellar Cartilage in Women with Mild Knee Osteoarthritis

In this same study, out of the 80 participants, there were only 6 participants that experienced joint pain and there were no adverse effects over the 12 month program. We have muscular power to gain, without any negative changes to the cartilage!

It is important to note that jumping has been studied primarily with patients with knee osteoarthritis but can be applicable across other joints. It is also important to note that it is plausible in most mild stages of osteoarthritis, stages 1 and 2, but may not be in more severe cases. You can learn more about the 5 stages of osteoarthritis in this post.

So is jumping safe for osteoarthritis? In most mild cases, the answer is likely yes. There are lots of things to consider though before you go pick up that jump rope! Muscular power is extremely important but we need to make sure we have a few things in order before we start adding it to training.

What to consider before jumping

Jumping is possible, but it is important to take into consideration making sure your body is ready for it. These are some things to make sure you are able to do before adding jumping into your training. You will want to make sure you have a well-designed program from a trusted health professional to make sure you are adequately prepared. Here are a few things to make sure you can master first:

  • adequate lower body strength (i.e being able to squat without pain or support)
  • the ability to stand on one foot for at least 30 seconds
  • the ability to walk for at least 1 mile without significant increase in pain

Remember, these are just a few guidelines that we consider before adding in jump training. If we add it in too early, you could experience more pain. If your body is ready, you could experience decreased pain, increased ability to do the things you love, and improved quality of life!

Preparation for jump training

In order to prepare yourself to add jumping to your training, there are a few movements you should master first. It is important to make sure you can master these with control and without exacerbation of pain. Once you are able to complete these 3 exercises confidently for at least 3-4 weeks, then you can look into beginning to add jump training into your sessions!

As mentioned previously, it is very important to seek out personalized assistance in order to get the best results as these are general recommendations.

Let’s look further into these next 3 exercises.

1. Single Leg Supported Squat

Single leg strength is critical for your legs to adequately handle beginning to add higher impact exercises. Not only is it important to have the appropriate strength to complete the exercise without pain but also to complete this exercise with the correct form. It is also vital that both legs have equal strength. Imbalances can lead to compensations.

2. Reverse Lunges Without Support

The ability to complete reverse lunges without pain and with symmetrical strength is important to establish before you begin higher intensity exercises. You can begin with support as you are getting stronger and then can progress to without support.

3. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a great test for working the muscles that are necessary for jump training. This exercise starts to incorporate power but in a more controlled setting than jumping does. These are our favorite kettlebells that are very affordable.

How often should you be jumping?

For jump training to be safe for osteoarthritis, we have to avoid doing too much, just like any other exercise. There is a sweet spot that is a little different for everyone depending on the severity of the osteoarthritis. 

The idea is to begin to gradually incorporate various jumping exercises, aside from just jumping up and down. If you begin with <20 reps total on one occasion to start, this will be a safe way to understand how your body responds. This can continue twice per week if you don’t notice increase in pain or swelling afterwards.

The goal is to work up to 50-75 jumps per week split up over 3 days as long as you have no adverse reactions. Ideally, you would then alternate jump training every other week.

The best way to start incorporating jump training is to do it with support so your body is able to get used to the movements. The patients we have worked with have said that the TRX bands are much more doable and a lot less scary to start! 

Here are some examples of different jumps you can do. Most of them are with support using these TRX bands which we highly recommend to start out with. 

  1. TRX Double jumps: Youtube video
  2. TRX Single leg jumps: YouTube video
  3. Lateral hops with control: YouTube video
  4. Lateral hops unsupported: YouTube video 
  5. TRX high knees: YouTube video

Conclusion

So is jumping safe for osteoarthritis? The answer is yes, you don’t have to rule out higher level impact activities with an osteoarthritis diagnosis, contrary to popular belief. This is with the consideration of mild osteoarthritis, particularly stages 1 and 2. 

Jumping is an effective way to improve muscular power which is correlated with less joint pain and higher quality of life. Without adding higher impact training, you risk losing muscular power which can make daily activities hard to complete in the future.

Keep in mind, each person’s experience with osteoarthritis is different. So it’s important to listen to your body when you are preparing yourself to begin jump training. Making sure you are aware of how your body is recovering and leaving enough time between the next training session is important. 

The goal is to work up to 50-75 jumps per week spread out over 3 sessions. Then alternate jump training every other week or even every 2 weeks depending on how you feel. 

Now that we know power training may be appropriate for you and your joint pain, the next step is to download the FREE Ultimate Arthritis Guide. You can improve pain drastically by having multiple different avenues. I want to show you the top 5 secrets to getting rid of joint pain forever. Fill out the form below to download instantly!

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site. 

This article contains affiliate links that offer us a small commission without any cost to you.

arthritis exercise equipment

TOP Arthritis Exercise Equipment: Build a Home Gym for Less than $200

Exercise and movement can move mountains if you are struggling with arthritis. Getting the most out of your workouts is dependent on the equipment you have. The top arthritis exercise equipment includes hip resistance bands, kettlebell, sandbell, TRX straps, and more. This exercise equipment can be powerful to help you build strength to support your joints with arthritis-friendly exercises.

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When we see our clients, our main goal is to show them that it is possible to do arthritis-friendly workouts at home. We recommend the following budget friendly equipment to get the right amount of resistance to continue to make gains. Home gyms don’t have to be full of expensive equipment to be effective. There are certain pieces of exercise equipment that will bring you more bang for your buck.

We have been working with people suffering from osteoarthritis pain for the past few years and we have perfected our list for arthritis-friendly exercise equipment and cannot wait to share it with you. We know exercise is one of the best things we can do to combat osteoarthritis pain. If you want more details on the benefits of exercise with osteoarthritis, read the post here.

Table of Contents

Top Arthritis Exercise equipment you need in your home gym

1. Kettlebell

A kettlebell is a powerful exercise tool that is versatile for both upper and lower body exercises. We personally love the kettlebell because there are many different exercises you can use with one simple tool. It is different from a dumbbell because the handle and the bell shape allows for safe, dynamic movements. 

According to the 18 benefits of using a kettlebell, “By regularly doing kettlebell workouts, you will rapidly develop the major muscles of your hips, core, shoulders, and neck too…and these are all vital aspects of having good posture and a strong backside.”

Kettlebells allow you to combine movements which leads to increased stamina as well as increased calorie burn. This then helps fuel fat loss which is important when dealing with osteoarthritis.

These muscles are extremely important especially with knee, low back, or hip arthritis. Our favorite kettlebell exercises include kettlebell goblet squats, kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and kettlebell overhead press. Watch the video below for examples on how to complete these above exercises.

Our go-to budget-friendly kettlebell is the Amazon Basics Cast Iron Kettlebell. They range from $1-$2 a pound, which is a great price for a kettlebell. You can check it out here. 

The weight you choose is dependent on your fitness level. A 10lb or 15lb kettlebell would be appropriate if you are just starting out. We have had clients work up to a 25lb and even 35lb after working with us for 8-10 visits. 

The nice thing about kettlebells is you can have a lighter weight that you use for overhead presses and upper body exercises and a heavier bell you can use for deadlifts, swings, and other leg exercises.

Budget: 15lb kettlebell: ~$30

2. TRX bands

We love these TRX bands, especially when you are starting out with exercise. Adding support to exercises can help to decrease pain and improve range of motion. 

These straps can easily hang from any door in your home, providing bodyweight support to common exercises like squats and lunges that are typically painful with arthritis. 

The TRX bands incorporate core strength with almost every exercise due to the set up and the instability of the straps. You can complete upper body, lower body, and full body exercises. You can also add in dynamic exercises such as jumping and balance exercises which can dramatically help reduce joint pain. 

The video below shows our favorite exercises that we use with our clients regularly. You can find more exercises in this blog post

You can find these bands for less than $80 here. It is a steal for how beneficial these bands are and are a must for arthritis exercise equipment.

TRX bands: ~$70

3. Hip Circle Resistance Bands

These bands are an absolute must for arthritis pain relief. We love using this small circle resistance bands for lower body exercises to help strengthen the muscles that typically get neglected. 

Adding these bands to exercises like squats can improve form and help to decrease knee pain. You can use these bands to help improve posture and upper body strength as well to help with shoulder and neck osteoarthritis. 

These bands typically come in sets of 5 with varying resistances. We usually use the lighter resistance bands for upper body exercises and the heavier resistance for lower body exercises.

Here are some examples of the best exercises to improve your posture along with building upper body strength using one of these resistance bands. We can get creative with these and improve aerobic capacity and stamina too. 

You can get a set of these bands for under $20 here and they are worth every penny in our eyes.

Resistance bands: ~$20

4. Sandbell

This piece of exercise equipment is great to challenge grip strength, especially if you have a history of hand osteoarthritis. Grip strength is extremely important for longevity. Recently there has been research about the importance of grip strength in correlation with other health markers. 

For example, “Researchers say grip strength can predict your overall strength and health, as well as your risk of cardiovascular disease. As you age, the stronger your grip, the more likely you are to survive diseases like cancer.”

The sandbell is similar to a kettlebell but is a soft sack full of small beads that gives it weight. This is a great alternative if you have a difficult time holding onto dumbbells because of hand pain. 

If you have never heard of the sandbell, watch the video below to see sample exercises and how the sandbell works. Essentially, you hang onto the beads in the bell through the exercise. Since the bell is soft, you can complete throws and slams- which you aren’t able to do with dumbbells or kettlebells.

We would recommend 8-10lb bags for beginner to moderate fitness levels. People of moderate-advanced fitness level may be able to use 12-15lb bags.

An 8lb bag costs approximately $30 and can be used in supplementation with the other arthritis exercise equipment listed in this post. At this price, we would highly recommend adding one of these to your collection. Get a sandbell here

Sandbell 8lb: $30

5. Hand strengtheners

Speaking of grip strength, there are specific tools you can use to improve your hand strength and maintain finger mobility. This is extremely important if you are beginning to have signs of osteoarthritis in your hands. 

These tools are very inexpensive and are worth having accessible during the day so you can continue to promote blood flow in your hands. It is important to keep your fingers mobile so you can keep function for opening jars, holding onto grandkids, and holding onto smaller objects. 

These tools below are great to help with grip strength and they offer different levels of resistance. Most that are experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis will likely stay with the lower resistances to avoid flaring up pain or over-stressing the muscles. 

This variety pack is one that we recommend due to the variety of tools that are included and you can’t beat the price! Get the variety pack here for under $20. 

Hand strengtheners: ~$15

hand strengtheners

6. Resistance bands

The longer resistance bands or “stretchy bands” are extremely important to help with core and upper body strength, both vital for proper posture. If you are dealing with arthritis in your spine or in your shoulder, these are a must have. 

These resistance bands are commonly used in physical therapy for all sorts of conditions. They are especially important for osteoarthritis pain relief when used correctly by adding resistance through range of motion. 

There are also lots of core exercises you can do with these resistance bands too! There is a video below that shows examples of exercises you can do for a stronger core. Your core is the foundation for almost all movement so it is important to pay attention to!

These resistance bands usually come in a pack of 3-5 different resistances. You typically only need about 3 different resistances. These run between $10-$20 and can be a great addition to a home gym. We use these bands mostly for warm up and cool downs. We like this pack the best, you can get them here.

Resistance bands: ~$15

Conclusion

Total: $180 for 6 items!

These 6 tools are a great way to start a home gym that will be the best bang for your buck, especially for arthritis friendly exercises. The idea is to be able to complete bodyweight exercises before adding weight. We recommend starting with the TRX straps and hip circle resistance bands and progressing to the kettlebells and sandbell.

If you are looking for more guidance on how to get started, check out our Arthritis Workout Planner for a very easy way to plan out your workouts. This planner accommodates beginner, intermediate, and advanced fitness levels. In order to get rid of osteoarthritis pain, it is important you use the right progression of exercises.

Dr. Alyssa Kuhn has created this workout planner with proven exercises that have helped hundreds of people find joint pain relief. These exercises are easily completed at home and take no longer than 15 minutes to complete!

Learn more Here

The Arthritis Workout Planner- making it easy to create your own workouts without flaring up your arthritis pain!

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

This article contains affiliate links that pay us a small commission without any cost to you.