Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) and exercise

Why Exercise can Improve Knee Osteoarthritis?

Acumen Reconditioning offers group training for those affected by knee osteoarthritis. We understand this can be a debilitating diagnosis but with our experience and expertise we know we can help those affected by this disease. 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease and one of the major contributors of adult disability (Leong, D. et al. 2014). Pain, decreased range of motion, stiffness, muscle weakness, joint effusion and atrophy are some of the predominant symptoms (Valderrabano, V. et al 2011). Although it is a common diagnosis, the pathogenesis is not fully understood other than that it normally progresses with age (Valderrabano, V. et al 2011). A study by Leong D. et al found that osteoarthritis can affect almost ⅓ of the age group 65 years and older. 

Currently there is no absolute cure, which is why treatments focus on management of symptoms like pain relief, and improved joint function and stability (Valderrabano, V. et al 2011). An exercise program for osteoarthritis should focus on aerobic exercise, stretching/flexibility, endurance training, muscle strengthening, and long term adherence for success (Leong, D. et al. 2014). One study by Nejati, P. et al. 2015 found that in the third month, strength exercises made a significant difference which emphasizes the importance of adherence to a program. Many people also benefit from guidance with their rehabilitation which is why we utilize in person sessions at Acumen. We believe that education and proper guidance are key to building independence in our patients to achieve this long term success. Individualization of programs is also important, as every individual will be unique and experience different limitations along their rehabilitation journey.

Rehabilitation Interventions 

Conservative treatment with an athletic therapist, kinesiologist, physiotherapist and other healthcare professions are often prescribed for management of OA symptoms. A consistent exercise routine focused on proper progression and implementation of individualized exercise can help decrease pain along with an increase of motion and function. A decrease in pain can improve participation in activities of daily living (ADL’s) (Nejati, P. et al. 2015) such as walking, climbing stairs, completing household chores and more. Manual therapy plays a large role alongside exercise participation to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of muscles and tendons that support the knee. Acumen Clinic offers manual therapy in combination with the program. 

Muscular Strength

Improving muscular strength through exercise is important for rehabilitation. Better muscular strength is crucial for joint biomechanics and efficient movement patterns because muscles produce movement, absorb loading, and provide dynamic joint stability (Valderrabano, V. et al 2011). In other words, more strength will take pressure off the knees while walking and exercising, and improve balance during movement. Obesity, cartilage degeneration and sedentary lifestyles are also recognized factors in some cases of osteoarthritis, which can all be improved with regular exercise (Valderrabano, V. et al 2011).

At Acumen we believe in treating the body as a whole, not just the specific injury or area of pain. During our group knee OA program you will learn proper exercise technique, how to strengthen the affected and surrounding muscles, work on balance, how to improve your knee movement and function, and much more. We will be able to guide you through each phase of your journey, no matter where you are starting from. We will provide various options for exercises as we go through and assess your movement patterns in order to set you up for success. If you have any further questions about us, or what the program entails please feel free to reach out, or visit our website



Valderrabano, V., & Steiger, C. (2011). Treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis through exercise and sports. Journal of Aging Research, 2011, 1–6. 

Nejati P, Farzinmehr A, Moradi-Lakeh M. The effect of exercise therapy on knee osteoarthritis: a randomized clinical trial. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2015 Feb 25;29:186. PMID: 26034739; PMCID: PMC4431424.

Leong, D. J., & Sun, H. B. (2014). Osteoarthritis – Why Exercise?. Journal of exercise, sports & orthopedics, 1(1), 04.