Joint pain in the knees or hips and exercise

It's not unusual to feel discomfort in one's hips or knees. The majority of people will suffer from hip or knee discomfort at some point in their lives.
Joint pain in the knees or hips and exercise

When this kind of pain arises, doctors typically prescribe the least invasive treatment possible to help patients feel better and start the healing process.

One of the best things you can do for a hurt or aching joint is to keep moving. Low impact exercises are helpful if you have a regular fitness routine but need to take it easy on your hips or knees when pain is evident.

If you haven't exercised in a while, start slowly. Don't push yourself too hard — that can overwork muscles and make joint pain worse.

Consider these tips:

  • Keep the impact low. Low-impact exercises help keep joint stress low while you move. Examples include stationary or recumbent bicycling, elliptical trainer workouts, or exercise in the water.
  • Use heat. Heat can relax joints and muscles and lessen pain before exercise. Deliver the heat with warm towels, hot packs or a shower. The temperature should be warm, not painfully hot. Use for about 20 minutes.
  • Move gently. Move joints gently at first to warm up. You might begin with range-of-motion exercises for 5 to 10 minutes before you move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises.
  • Go slowly. Exercise with slow and easy movements. If you feel pain, take a break. Sharp pain and pain that's worse than the usual joint pain might mean something is wrong. Slow down if you see swelling or redness in your joints.
  • Ice afterward. Use ice on your joints for up to 20 minutes as needed after activity. This is even more important if your joints are swollen.

Listen to your body. Don't push too hard. Build up slowly. Add more and harder exercise as you get stronger.