balance exercises for arthritis

Balance Exercises for Arthritis

Science shows that balance training has big benefits for people with arthritis and related conditions.

Consider the Evidence:

  • Osteoarthritis: In a study published in 2015 in Clinical Rehabilitation, people with osteoarthritis (OA) recovering from knee surgery who did balance training in addition to other physical therapy exercises had better mobility, balance and function than those who didn’t do balance exercises.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: People with ankylosing spondylitis who included balance exercises in their physical therapy for seven months improved their balance and quality of life, according to a study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
  • Fibromyalgia: Balance training improved function and reduced fall risk after six weeks in a study of people with fibromyalgia, published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Women with rheumatoid arthritis or OA in their lower limbs who did balance exercises at home for four months had an improvement in their fall risk and stability. The study was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Three Key Moves

Try these balance exercises, which were used in the research.

  • Single-leg stand: Stand by a counter to catch yourself. Lift one leg off the ground for 10 seconds. Switch sides. Build up to one minute for each leg.
  • Tandem stand: Place one foot in front of the other with the toes of the back foot touching the heel of the front foot. Hold for 10 seconds then switch sides. Build up to one minute for each leg.
  • Chair stand: Stand up from a chair without using your hands. Work up to 10 reps.

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2 thoughts on “Balance Exercises for Arthritis

  1. Balance and proprioception are so important in terms of the treatment of joint injuries and rehabilitation that it has to be routinely tested. Balance has also been directly linked to injury risk in noncontact sports according to a study done this year in Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
    Stiffler, Mikel R., et al. “Star Excursion Balance Test Anterior Asymmetry Is Associated With Injury Status in Division I Collegiate Athletes.” JOSPT 47.5 (2017): 339-346.

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