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littletree posted:
I have chondromalacia and arthritis of the right knee joint. I also have degenerative disc disease in my lower back. Would like some exercises I can do at home to prevent further injury. Any suggestions??

Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi Littletree,

First I suggest straight leg raises to strengthen the muscles around the knee. To do them lie on the floor on your back, one knee bent, the other straight, hands palm down under the buttocks to support the low back. Contract the quadriceps on the straight leg first, then raise leg to the height of the other knee. Pause 1-2 second at the top, then lower leg but do not allow it to touch the floor. Repeat 10-15 reps, 3 sets. As you get stronger and can easily do 15 reps, use ankle weights. Start with one pound and work up. You should always be able to do 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you may be able to progress to leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, squats, and other exercises, but first you should get your leg stronger with the leg raises. Here is a slide presentation that will help. (slide #3).

And then click to slide #4 which describes how to tighten the quadriceps before lifting as I instruct above.

And here's an exercise to strengthen the muscles in the back of the legs has some great DVD's for people with arthritis. I also suggest that you ask your doctor for a referral to physical therapy. A physical therapist is specially trained and can evaluate you and recommend specific exercises to help you. If you do this you'll know you're doing the right exercises. I don't want to recommend specific back exercises without seeing you move, so a physical therapist would be a very good idea. You would only need one or two sessions, and even if insurance didn't cover it, it would be a good investment.

Good luck with it.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
And although you want exercises for home, of course water classes and swimming would be excellent since it's non-weight-bearing. Check the Arthritis Foundation web site for the PACE program near where you live. PACE is a water class program sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation at locations around the country.
littletree replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thanks so much!!

littletree replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thank you!!

Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to littletree's response:
You're very welcome.

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