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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Caregiver Tips for Assisting Seniors Who Have Arthritic Knees

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers an overview of the most common type of knee arthritis, osteoarthritis, and suggestions for treatment. Caregivers for seniors who are in the early stages of arthritis may be using nonsurgical treatments for arthritic knees. This can include lifestyle modifications such losing weight, switching from high impact exercise to swimming or bicycling, and avoiding movements such as climbing stairs.

The website explains that a doctor or physical therapist can provide advice regarding beneficial exercises. Supportive devices that can be used include a knee brace, inserts for shoes to provide additional cushioning, or using a cane. Elastic bandages to reduce swelling, ice, heat, and liniments are sometimes used to reduce pain.

Water therapy exercise is becoming popular for people with arthritis wherever a pool is available. Group classes of water aerobics provide a chance for people to exercise gently with the help of the buoyancy of water. Often a jacuzzi is nearby too, and the heated water is another way people reduce arthritis pain.

At our local pool and jacuzzi the water aerobics classes include many seniors in their 70's, 80's, and even 90's who are exercising arthritic joints with slow, smooth movements in water. There is also a water walking lane. The water in the pool is 4 feet deep, and in the water walking lane people walk their laps, just like they would on a track, but in the water.

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