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Arthritis and Exercise

Exercise, both therapeutic and recreational, is an effective therapy in successful management of osteoarthritis. Exercise is integral in reducing impairment, improving function, and preventing disability.

- Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1999 May;25(2):397-415, viii. Exercise in the treatment of osteoarthritis.Minor MA.

Available data may be interpreted to suggest that reasonable recreational exercise -- carried out within limits of comfort, putting joints through normal motions, and without underlying joint abnormality--need not inevitably lead to joint injury, even over many years. We are also witnessing thoughtful reevaluation of physical exercise as a therapeutic modality for arthritis patients. It is possible that certain patients may achieve psychologic and clinical benefit from selected exercise programs.

- South Med J. 1994 May;87(5):S74-8. Is exercise good or bad for arthritis in the elderly? Panush RS, Holtz HA.

Exercise therapy would appear to be effective at increasing aerobic capacity and muscle strength in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and no detrimental effects on disease activity or pain compared with controls has been observed. Exercise therapy--at least in the short-term, improves pain, muscular strength and function in elderly people with mild osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip or knee. For the treatment of both OA and RA the knowledge of the optimal type, frequency, duration and intensity of exercise is still limited, but the exercise should not include high-impact loads or high injury risk.

- Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2004 Jun;14(3):138-42. Exercise therapy for people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.Kettunen JA, Kujala UM.

The results suggest that dynamic exercise therapy is effective in increasing aerobic capacity and muscle strength. No detrimental effects on disease activity and pain were observed. The effects of dynamic exercise therapy on functional ability and radiological progression are unclear. It is concluded that dynamic exercise therapy has a positive effect on physical capacity.

- Br J Rheumatol. 1998 Jun;37(6):677-87. Dynamic exercise therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review.Van den Ende CH, Vliet Vlieland TP, Munneke M, Hazes JM.

See also: Exercises to Strengthen Joints

References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health.

last update: April 2009

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