3 Reported Benefits of Walking for Osteoarthritic Hip or Knee Pain

If you have painful knees or hips due to arthritis, walking may offer several potential benefits. Here are a few ways walking reportedly helps some people with arthritic joints.

When you have stiff and painful knees or hips due to arthritis, the thought of walking every day may seem out of reach or even counterproductive. You might worry that physical activity will make things worse; that’s why it’s important to talk to a doctor – to see what exercise is right for your specific condition. 

3 Reasons to consider walking every day

1. Walking can ease arthritis pain – and more

According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercise is "the most effective, non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients with osteoarthritis."1

Walking can help by:2-3

  • Reducing pain and stiffness
  • Improving range of motion
  • Increasing blood flow to joint cartilage
  • Strengthening muscles that support the hip and knee
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Promoting a healthy weight/assisting with weight loss
  • Decreasing stress and elevating mood

2. Walking can help you build confidence

There may be things you aren't able to do anymore because of your arthritis pain. Losing your sense of independence or missing out on your favorite activities can be difficult to cope with.

Fortunately, walking is a simple, low-impact activity for most of us. Knowing that you are taking meaningful steps to improve your health just by going for a daily stroll might help you feel more in control over your health.

Since a consistent walking routine can also reduce your hip or knee pain, you'll hopefully feel even more confident as you go about your daily activities. As a bonus, walking can help you spend time and socialize with loved ones. 

3. It's free

Between co-pays, medications, transportation costs, supplements, and other expenses, your chronic pain condition can come with a hefty price tag. Joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer, or buying exercise equipment may not be something you're interested in nor able to do based on your budget. 

Thankfully, walking is free. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes and somewhere safe to go for a stroll, such as around your neighborhood, through your local park, or at the mall. 

You don't even need to invest a lot of time into your daily walks, either. As little as 10 minutes of brisk walking per day can be enough to provide meaningful improvements in your arthritis symptoms.4

Before you begin any new exercise routine, remember to:

  • Consult with your physician before starting or making any significant changes to your lifestyle.
  • Ask about a referral to physical therapy if your pain and dysfunction significantly impairs your movement; a physical therapist can recommend assistive devices or braces and help you get moving more safely.
  • Ramp up your activity level gradually and don't be afraid to start small—even a few brisk walks throughout your house is a great place to start (IF your doctor says walking is right for you).
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  1. (n.d.). Benefits of Exercise for Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/getting-started/benefits-of-exercise-for-osteoarthritis
  2. Dumain, T. (2019, Nov 15). Walking with Arthritis: Benefits, Tips, How to Prevent Pain. creakyjoints. https://creakyjoints.org/diet-exercise/walking-with-arthritis/
  3. (n.d.). 12 Benefits of Walking. Arthritis Foundation. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/walking/12-benefits-of-walking
  4. Dunlop, D., et al. (2019, Mar 19). One Hour a Week: Moving to Prevent Disability in Adults With Lower Extremity Joint Symptoms. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(19)30045-5/fulltext

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