Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition which occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down. It does not affect people until middle age. The two most common kinds of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis which most often affects the knees. This degenerative disease happens mainly in weight-bearing joints and causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness. The joint pain in arthritis leads to inactivity, and this inactivity ironically worsens the arthritis. Regular exercise can prove very useful in managing arthritis as exercises help to effectively strengthen the muscles around the joint. They also help the joints because of the movement. When the knees feel stiff on getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a long time, it indicates that lack of movement is causing the stiffness and pain in the joints. Wondering which exercises are beneficial for arthritis patients? Want to know is cycling good for arthritis in the knees? Read on for the benefits of cycling in arthritis.

The Benefits Of Cycling For Arthritis In The Knees

Since arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the knees, it may seem best to avoid exercise. However, the right intensity and type of exercise can actually help improve arthritis symptoms. The best exercises for people with arthritis are gentle, low-impact exercises, like cycling. Bicycling is practiced by millions of people across the globe. It is a good cardiovascular, non weight bearing exercise which helps to effectively strengthen the leg muscles and stabilize the core muscles. The repetitive motion of the knee, without constant impact, is especially great for arthritic knees since it boosts the production and flushing of fluids through the joint, lubricating it and washing away waste products. A lot of people find running to be very painful on the joints, especially running on concrete or hard pavement. Cycling offers the same aerobic benefits and is easier on the knees too. Both indoor and outdoor cycling work to treat arthritis symptoms.

People with arthritis should always use correctly fitted cycle. They should select the right cycle with the help of an expert. These individuals should engage in recreational biking on paved bike paths and roads, as this exerts less impact on the joints than off-road biking. They should slowly increase the frequency, time, distance and speed of their rides. Since cycling while seated is relatively non-weight bearing and does not do much to increase bone density, a weight-bearing activity should be included in their fitness program. Both experienced and inexperienced riders should wear a helmet while cycling to reduce the risk of severe head injury in the event of an accident.

Cycling Modifications For Patients With Arthritis In The Knee

Specific modifications can be done in the bicycle to make riding easier and more comfortable for arthritis patients with knee pain.

  • A recumbent bike is a good choice for arthritis patients since this bike puts almost no weight on the upper body and the seat also has back support.
  • Since mounting and dismounting the bike can be difficult for arthritis patients, these people can use a unisex frame rather than a high-bar frame, or can lay their bike on the ground, step over it, and then lift the bike up.
  • Newer technologies, like automatic shifters built into the pedal mechanism and electronic brakes and shifters, can make cycling accessible for many arthritis patients.

Is Cycling Good For Arthritis In The Knees?

Is Cycling Good For Arthritis In The Knees?

Yes, cycling is good for arthritis in the knees. However, cycling can both help and hurt in knee arthritis. Researchers found that people who cycled more than 30 minutes a day were twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis. This finding backed the hypothesis that overuse of a joint can cause arthritis. However, other risk factors which increase the risk of osteoarthritis are sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Being overweight puts stress on the knees, and not exercising hurts the cartilage, which depends on joint use to stay healthy. So, to stay fit, healthy and active one should practice moderate exercise, especially cycling, regularly. Cycling not only improves the mobility of the joints and reduces knee pain, but also increases the quality of a life of an arthritis patient.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 29, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest