Hesperian Health Guides

Exercising an Arthritic Knee Through Daily Activities

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 16: Juvenile Arthritis: Chronic Arthritis in Children > Exercising an Arthritic Knee Through Daily Activities

WALKING. Walking is one of the best exercises for strengthening the thigh—if the child puts some weight on the leg.

For arthritis, try to use canes, not crutches. Use of a crutch can cause contractures. NO YES A cane helps strengthen weak muscles and prevent contractures.
child walks with crutches
child walks with a cane
If he uses a cane, he must put some weight on the leg. This strengthens the muscles that straighten the leg.

WARNING! If a child uses a crutch and does not step down with his leg, this strengthens only the muscles that bend the leg.

During the times when the child’s arthritis is less painful, she should be active. It is fine for her to run, ride a bicycle, or take long walks—as long as this does not cause much joint pain.

These activities strengthen weak thighs.
After the child can walk fairly well without aids, a good exercise is walking on the heels. (If the arthritis also affects the ankles, this may not be possible. But try.)
child rides a bicycle
child walks uphill
two children walk uphill
Walking uphill exercises the thighs more than walking on flat ground.
DVC Ch16 Page 143-6.png
DVC Ch16 Page 143-7.png
SWIMMING. Swimming is one of the best exercises for a person with arthritis. Floating and play in water also is good exercise. The water holds up the body and allows movement of the arms and legs without weight, yet against the gentle resistance of the water.

This page was updated:21 Nov 2019