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Strength Training for Knee Osteoarthritis


Updated July 07, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Strength Training for Knee Osteoarthritis

If you feel pain in your knees when you exercise, you may think strength training will only make things worse. It's true that some movements can exacerbate the problem, but working on the muscles that support your knee may reduce pain over time while helping you build more strength and endurance.

Those muscles include the:

If you need some guidance, this knee pain workout includes a variety of strength and flexibility exercises for the knees, but be sure to check with your doctor before trying this or any other workout.

Living with knee OA can be frustrating, but avoiding exercise may make things worse. Daily movement, no matter what activity you choose, can help keep your joints strong, mobile and flexible. Not only that, it's a great reminder that you can take control of your situation, even if there are some limitations on what you can do.


Bartels EM, Lund H, Hagen KB, et al. Aquatic Exercise For the Treatment of Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis. 2007. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005523.

Bennell K, Rana Hinman. Exercise as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis. 2005. Rheumatology. 17(5);:634-640,

Kolasinski S, Garfinkel M, Tsai A, et al. Iyengar Yoga for Treating Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Knees. J of Comp Med. 2005, 11(4): 689-693.

Patrella R. Is exercise effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee?. Br J Sports Med 2000 October;34(5):326-331

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