6 Tips For Athletes With Knee Osteoarthritis


When you hear “knee osteoarthritis,” you probably think of an older person with a painful knee who’s had a lifetime of wear and tear on their joints. But you know what? Knee osteoarthritis can affect anyone, including athletes. And more than once in my career as a physical therapist have I seen the effects of knee OA ruin the lives of young athletes, even those who were just starting out with their sport. Fortunately there are ways to treat this condition before it becomes debilitating—and that includes staying active as much as possible (without hurting yourself). So what do you need to know if you want to keep playing your sport despite having knee OA? Let’s find out!

You think you’re too young for arthritis!

You may be thinking that you’re too young to have arthritis, especially if you’ve never had any joint pain before. But as a young athlete with knee osteoarthritis, you’re not alone.

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints caused by wear and tear. It’s most common in people over 65 years old, but can affect athletes of all ages. It usually affects the hands and knees first because they bear more weight than other joints during daily activities like walking or running (you might notice knee pain after running).

It’s true. Not everyone gets knee osteoarthritis.

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Wait, what? Knee osteoarthritis affects men and women equally.

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition affecting both men and women. In fact, it’s not unusual for athletes to develop knee OA. And while knee OA is often thought of as an inevitable result of aging, it can strike at any age.

What can I do about knee osteoarthritis?

  • Exercise is an important part of managing knee osteoarthritis. However, you should be careful to not overdo it and make sure your knees don’t swell up after exercise.
  • In addition to exercising regularly, it’s also important that you wear appropriate shoes while doing so; this will help prevent damage to your joints and surrounding tissues as you run or play sports.
  • Additionally, keeping the muscles around your knees strong can help decrease pain associated with osteoarthritis in the joints themselves, as well as reduce inflammation overall (which can make symptoms worse).

What kinds of exercises are best for me?

  • Walking, cycling, and swimming are all good for your joints. Your knees will thank you for these low-impact forms of exercise.
  • Avoid high impact exercises like jumping, hopping, or running as much as possible. These can be hard on your knees and cause increased pain in the long run!
  • Cross training is a great way to help build up strength in other areas while still allowing time to rest the injured area of your body (i.e., your knee). This will help keep the rest of your muscles strong while reducing inflammation on those sore joints!
  • Swimming is especially beneficial because it helps strengthen both upper and lower body muscles without putting stress on any one part too heavily─just make sure not to overdo it when first starting out! Cycling also provides similar benefits when done properly: try riding at an easy pace so that there isn’t any pressure placed directly onto the inflamed area such as those pesky patella tendons.”

How much exercise is right for me?

  • Start with a short exercise routine, then build up. When you’re first starting out with a new exercise regimen, it’s best to start small and build up from there. This will make it easier for your body to adapt and avoid injury. It’s also important that you don’t increase the intensity of your workout too quickly—it can lead to an increased risk of injury!
  • Do easy exercises first, then add more challenging ones later on in your routine. As soon as the muscles in your knees feel like they’re ready for more challenge (after about three weeks), try adding some strength training into your workouts. Make sure not overdo it though—if anything hurts or feels uncomfortable during this process, take a break from exercising until things feel better again!
  • Exercise for 30 minutes every other day for 3 times per week at most- but don’t forget about rest days either! Regularly getting enough rest is just as important as regularly working out so make sure not only do workouts but also have time off from them too!

How can I prevent injury?

You can’t avoid all injuries, but you can take steps to minimize your risk of injury.

  • Wear protective gear.
  • Warm up before exercise and cool down afterward.
  • Avoid high impact activities like running or jumping.
  • Avoid repetitive motions that cause pain to your knees and hips when they’re not warmed up properly, like squatting or lunging.

Knee OA is common in athletes and it doesn’t mean they have to stop being active.

Knee OA is common in athletes and it doesn’t mean they have to stop being active. Exercise is important for maintaining your mobility, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. It also helps prevent other conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease. And while physical activity can make symptoms worse temporarily (for example during a flare-up), research shows that after six months of regular exercise the pain usually gets better or stays the same on most days.

The best way to manage knee OA depends on your personal goals and preferences: whether you prefer mild restrictions or no restrictions at all; whether you want to focus on improving function through strength training; or whether you are more interested in keeping fit by doing aerobic activities such as walking or cycling. Your healthcare provider can help guide you based on their knowledge about treating this condition


If you have knee osteoarthritis, it’s important to understand that this disease doesn’t mean you can’t be active. You can! We hope these tips help make your exercise routine more enjoyable and less painful.