There are three different types of arthritis that affect the knees, causing the joints to stiffen and ache.
The most common is osteoarthritis, which slowly wears away the joint cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition, while post-traumatic arthritis can occur after a knee injury or fracture.
Although the pain is likely to increase as the disease progresses, these exercises from Arthritis Research UK can help. When done regularly, they can provide relief, build strength and help prevent future symptoms. Keeping a healthy weight can also help.
Straight leg raise (lying down)
Bend one leg at the knee. Hold the other leg straight and lift the foot just off the bed. Hold for a slow count of five, then lower.
Repeat five times with each leg. Try doing this in the morning and at night.
Straight leg raise (sitting)
Sit well back in the chair with good posture. Straighten and raise one leg. Hold for a slow count of 10, then slowly lower your leg. Repeat this at least 10 times with each leg.
If you can do this easily, try it with light weights on your ankles and with your toes pointing towards you. Try doing this every time you sit down.
Hold onto a chair or work surface for support. Squat down until your kneecap covers your big toe. Return to standing. Repeat at least 10 times.
As you improve, try to squat a little further. Don’t bend your knees beyond a right angle.
Step onto the bottom step of stairs with the right foot. Bring up the left foot, then step down with the right foot, followed by the left foot.
Repeat with each leg until you get short of breath. Hold on to the bannister if necessary. As you improve, try to increase the number of steps you can do in one minute and the height of the step.
Sit on the edge of a table or bed. Cross your ankles over. Push your front leg backwards and back leg forwards against each other until the thing muscles become tense.
Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Switch legs and repeat. Do four sets with each leg.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Keeping your foot to the floor, slowly bend one knee until you feel it being comfortably stretched.
Hold for five seconds. Straighten your leg as far as you can and hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Sit on a chair. Without using your hands for support, stand up and then sit back down. Make sure each movement is slow and controlled. Repeat for one minute.
As you improve, try to increase the number of sit/stands you can do in one minute and try the exercise from lower chairs or the bottom two steps of a staircase.
Practicing yoga regularly can also reduce the pain associated with arthritis, as well as improving flexibility and muscle strength.
Other simple arthritis-friendly workouts include stretching, water walking, and exercising from your couch.