Is there a Knee Arthritis Best Exercise? New Study Looks at Many Studies to Answer this Question

Photo of the back and side of a woman in sports clothing using leg extension machine at the gym

Nestor Rizhniak/Shutterstock

There are many opinions on the web and elsewhere about the knee arthritis best exercise. The candidates seem to break down into general categories of exercise for knee arthritis like aerobic exercise, weight training without bearing weight on the knee, and weights with placing weight on the knee. Aerobic exercise would generally be things like running or participating in an exercise class. Weight training or strengthening with weight bearing are things like squats using weights or your body weight. Finally, strengthening without weight bearing usually involves using the machines you see at the gym like the leg extension machine. A Japanese group recently reviewed eight large studies on the knee arthritis best exercise. These included the three main categories discussed above. The winner? For pain relief the best was weights in the gym without weight bearing (like knee extension exercises). How big were the differences? Non-weight bearing exercises were about twice as good as weight bearing strengthening work and this was about twice as good as aerobic exercise. The uphot? If you have knee arthritis pain and want to do something active to help your joints, getting the muscles stronger on machines without bearing weight (like the knee extension machine or the hamstrings machine) looks the best way to help your joint pain based on this study.

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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