Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint problem worldwide, with knee arthritis being the most prevalent. The chances of getting knee arthritis increase with age, weight, previous injury or heredity. There is mixed evidence to support various types of knee rehabilitation for osteoarthritis sufferers. A study in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation set out to compare strength training to balance training in managing knee arthritis.
At the beginning of the study, there were no differences between the 2 groups of participants. One group performed only strength training exercises, while the other group performed a combination of strength and balance exercises. Based on various outcome measures such as pain, disability, stiffness, depression and physical function; the balance group performed significantly better after one year.
This study suggests that it is important to ensure that any rehabilitation program for knee arthritis should include simple balance exercises. Some of the exercises used in the study are as follows:
- 25 m backwards walk
- 25 m heel walk
- 25 m toe walk
- 25 m eyes closed walk
- 30-second one-legged stand (with leaning in all directions with eyes open and closed)