Diet and Exercise Benefit Osteoarthritis Patients

While Not a Cure, Diet and Exercise Are Important for OA Management

An X-ray showing osteoarthritis of the ankle.
An X-ray showing osteoarthritis of the ankle. Science Photo Library/Getty Images

You may be one of the osteoarthritis patients who looks for non-drug treatment options to help manage your osteoarthritis. Diet and exercise are at the forefront of ways to help control osteoarthritis symptoms.

While neither diet nor exercise have been offered up as a cure, an appropriate regimen involving the two can be beneficial. Studies support an appropriate exercise program as part of multidisciplinary management of osteoarthritis.

It's not uncommon for osteoarthritis patients to have deficiencies in gait, range of motion, strength, and flexibility -- even endurance.

The role of diet in osteoarthritis is less clear. As part of a multidisciplinary approach, a diet focusing on good nutrition and weight management is realistic. As an independent factor, the gains of a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamin D have been the focus of current research.

Educating yourself about the role of diet and exercise and a consultation with your doctor is a positive approach. A nutritionist, personal trainer, or physical therapist can also help craft an individualized program that would maximize your benefit.

Diet and Osteoarthritis

Eat Right and Eat Less
Being overweight is bad for your joints. Osteoarthritis patients know this and wish there was a quick fix for shedding unwanted pounds. There's not. It all boils down to this bit of sound advice -- eat right and eat less.

It's that simple, and it works.

Does Diet Really Help Osteoarthritis?
There are contradictory reports about the effect of diet on osteoarthritis. Patients are typically interested in finding out what changes to their diet may increase or decrease osteoarthritis symptoms. Learn more about known scientific conclusions regarding diet and osteoarthritis.

Foods With Antioxidants May Ward Off Knee Osteoarthritis
Antioxidants are available in supplements and in plenty of healthy foods. A diet rich in antioxidants may ward off knee osteoarthritis.

Exercise and Osteoarthritis

Exercise Neither Increases Nor Decreases Knee Osteoarthritis Risk
Regular exercise is a recommendation for better health, especially for middle-aged and older adults. The effect of weight-bearing exercise on older adults and people who are overweight was considered by researchers.

Resistance Exercise Helps Knee Osteoarthritis
Resistance exercise can improve muscle strength and physical function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Many people with knee osteoarthritis also experience decreased pain with resistance exercise.

Therapeutic Exercise for Osteoarthritis
Therapeutic exercise is recommended as part of any treatment regimen for osteoarthritis. The goal of therapeutic exercise is to improve physical function and reduce pain and disability for osteoarthritis patients. Which type of therapeutic exercise is most effective?

Water Exercise Helps Osteoarthritis Patients
Water exercise is usually performed in a therapeutic pool heated to 92 to 98 degrees and includes aerobic activities, stretching and strengthening, and range of motion exercises. Water exercise is also called pool therapy or hydrotherapy.

Pilates and Osteoarthritis
Pilates is a type of exercise that is not too aggressive for osteoarthritis patients. Pilates helps build a strong core, which helps soothe osteoarthritis pain.

Nintendo Wii Can Be Therapeutic
Nintendo Wii was designed as an innovative, next generation video game. Nintendo Wii has found a higher purpose though, being used in physical therapy and rehab situations for people with physical limitations.

Has Weight Gain Been an Issue for You?
Joint pain and other osteoarthritis symptoms can cause you to be less active. With less physical activity, weight gain can become an issue. Has weight gain been a problem for you since being diagnosed with osteoarthritis?


Nonpharmacologic therapy of osteoarthritis. UpToDate. Kenneth C Kalunian, MD. Accessed December 29, 2015.

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