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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
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My doctor keeps telling me that exercise is the best medicine for my knee arthritis. But exercise just makes me more sore. What should I do?

It's true that exercise has been shown helpful to patients with osteoarthritis -- especially knee arthritis. And studies show that although individuals who exercise may have increased musculoskeletal soreness, there are no other adverse effects of exercise. It may be helpful to take a look at what kind of exercise(s) you are doing and if there might be a better way to exercise. For example, is there a pool-based program available in your community? Many people find that exercising in a pool helps reduce their joint pain right after the session. And that pain relief lasts into the next day. This type of pain relief may be a major advantage of pool-based therapy since pain is the main reason patients with advanced osteoarthritis don't exercise. Many people with arthritis are overweight or obese, so pool-based exercise with its buoyancy may have been a benefit in reducing joint pain after exercise. If there isn't a pool program in your area (or if getting to the pool is difficult due to transport problems), there are other ways to approach this problem. It's possible that the type of exercise(s) you are doing or the way you are doing them is contributing to your increased soreness. This is something a physical therapist can help you with. Even one or two sessions can help get you on the right track and make exercise more enjoyable and less painful. Your doctor can help you regulate any pain medication you may be taking. Taking pain relievers at just the right time can help maximize their effectiveness about the time you might feel increased pain or soreness after exercise. Be sure and talk with your physician or a pharmacist about ways to use your medications in conjunction with exercise.


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