Arthritis joint pain is caused mainly by the wear and tear on joints.
So, the last thing you may want to do when you are suffering from sore joints is to exercise. However, that is probably the best thing you can do to relieve and alleviate the pain and stiffness you are feeling.
Exercising the muscles that cushion sore joints can lessen the pressure on the joints.
Most specifically these sore joints include the hip, shoulders, knees, and hand/wrist.
Joint mal-alignment is the most common cause for arthritis joint pain.
A properly aligned joint with balanced muscle strength coming from opposing sides can reduce pain and support your activities that you enjoy.
What this means is that if you are strengthening the muscles in the thigh or front of the leg you also need to work the opposing group of hamstrings in the back of the leg.
Pilates exercises are designed to stretch and strengthen muscles groups at the same time.
If you exercise in this way the muscle groups that support your spine, knees, hips, and shoulders will be equally balanced.
This corrective practice will, in turn, cause them to move more efficiently with less wear and tear, which equals less joint pain.
Stronger Muscles = Less Pressure on Joints = Less Pain!
· Pilates Leg Circles are a great exercise to stabilize the pelvis while lubricating the hip joint and simultaneously stretching and strengthening those muscles of the hip and upper leg.
Leg circles are done by lying on your back with one leg extended out along the floor and the other can be extended almost to a 90 degree angle or modify by bending at the knee.
Feel the upper thigh bone circle or rotate around in the hip socket keeping the rest of the body still. Do this 5-8 times each direction.
Find more great exercises to strengthen your hip muscles here.
See an example of the reformer foot and legwork in my video below.
Doing footwork on the Pilates reformer is one of the best ways I help people who have sore joints, specifically pain in the knees.
It is low impact using only spring tension and your own body weight lying on the machine. I have used it successfully on my own surgically repaired knees and always feel better after having done the legwork series on the reformer.
I love using the resistance bands for students who have sore shoulder joints. They can control the range of motion with just a bit of tension in the band on the stretch and release.
The exercise shown is shoulder external rotation as I am pulling my lower arm out away from the body working the external rotators of the shoulder.
This is one way to help stabilize the shoulder joint while mobilizing the arms.
· Wrist/finger curls: One of my favorites to strengthen the wrist and increase finger dexterity is to do curls using a small dumbbell or weighted ball.
Leaning forward in a chair with your forearm resting on your thigh palm up and the back of the hand hanging off your leg.
Roll the weight out to your finger tips and then slowly curl with your fingers and then make a fist around it as it curls into your palm. Do this 10 times on each hand.
- Finger Extensions: Wrap a rubber band around the farthest extremity of the fingers that are all touching. Then, pull your fingers apart extending your fingers out while fully stretching the band. Release and repeat 8-10 times.
1. Start slowly – Begin with low repetitions (4-8 times) and light weights (2-5 lbs).
2. Progress in small increments – after a week or two with no joint pain and soreness increase reps or frequency by a couple of reps or minutes.
3. Set goals you can achieve – If it’s only exercising one day per week then start there.
4. Work in a pain free range of motion. No Pain - No Gain is not allowed when you have joint pain!
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