Are you experiencing knee pain when you get up in the morning or when you run? You may be suffering from osteoarthritis in your knees. While the condition can’t be reversed, your symptoms can be managed and the progression slowed, for example by being active. Read more about symptoms, causes and treatment with rehabilitative exercises.

Finn Johannsen Specialist MD in rheumatology

What is osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a frequent disorder that affects many people and increases in frequency with age. It is commonly caused by a combination of hereditary disposition and damage to the knee joint. Appropriate exercise and training can protect against osteoarthritis. Exercise is also an important avenue of treatment if you already suffer from osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis of the knee.
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Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition in which the cartilage in the joints gradually degenerates. The natural ability of the cartilage to absorb shock is thus decreased and this causes greater pressure on the bone itself.The increased pressure on the bone can cause pain and a thickening of the ends of the bone, resulting in bony outgrowths and decreased mobility in the joint. Osteoarthritis is characterized by stiffness in the knee joint and pain that may occur, both during rest and movement.

Diagnosis and treatment

Lose weight

The knee is a weight-bearing joint. If you are overweight, a weight loss of approximately 10 kilos / 22 lbs will help you reduce the pain in your knee.


With exercise, you can significantly improve the function of your knee and reduce the severity of the pain, but this will not eliminate osteoarthritis, which is an irreversible condition. Typically, your rehabilitation will start with exercises designed to increase the mobility of the knee and stimulate the cartilage. In addition, you will need to perform stability exercises and strengthen the muscles around your knee.

Exercises for Osteoarthritis

  1. Arm spread

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    • Stand up and move all your weight over on one leg while holding the second leg straight backward.
    • Lean slightly forward, about 20-30 degrees, while keeping the backward leg in line with your body.
    • Rotate your upper body to make your arms move up on one side and down in the other like airplane wings during turning.
    • This is repeated 15 times to each side.
  2. Squat I

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    • Stand up in front of a chair without touching it.
    • Stand on both legs with your feet slightly apart.
    • Your toes should point straight ahead.
    • Bend your knees slowly to a point where you almost touch the chair.
    • Then slowly go back up.
    • Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
  3. Inner hip stretch
    30 sec. x 3 sets

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    • Take a broad stance with your toes pointing straight ahead.
    • Keep one leg stretched while you bend the other leg and slide your body over the outstretched leg.
    • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and perform 3 repetitions with each leg.

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About the author

Finn Johannsen is a specialist MD of rheumatology with a diploma in sports and musculoskeletal medicine, as well as an award-winning specialist in rehabilitative treatment of sports and work-related injuries.