St. Anthony's Senior Living

Arthritis Knee and Hip Pain Relief for Seniors

Many older adults live with arthritis pain every day, especially in the knees and hips. With swelling and discomfort in the knee and hip joints, arthritis can impact so much — from the ability to relax and get a good night’s rest to the ability to walk and move around independently. 


But here’s the good news: Knee and hip aches can be managed and eased with lifestyle adjustments and strengthening exercises. Let’s explore how you can prevent and manage arthritis pain.



What Causes Knee and Hip Pain?

The most common cause of knee and hip pain for seniors is arthritis — inflammation and joint stiffness. Most commonly, older adults experiencing knee or hip pain have osteoarthritis, which is inflammation and discomfort caused by the breaking down of cartilage around a joint, resulting in less cushion around the joints when they move.


Although osteoarthritis won’t actually spread from one joint to another, it may affect other joints beyond where it first appears. Usually, this will happen as you adjust your movement to compensate and take a load off the initially pained joint. As a result, knee and hip aches often occur in tandem.



How to Prevent Arthritis in Knees and Hips

Osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis may be unavoidable for some older adults, especially if it’s common in your family’s medical history. Although knee and hip pain tend to be much more common as you age, you can still take steps to decrease the likelihood of arthritis setting in (or at least delay its onset). Ultimately, preventing arthritis simply means taking care of your body by:


  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (per your doctor’s recommendations)
  • Having good posture



How to Manage Knee and Hip Pain

If you’re already experiencing arthritis in your hips or knees, there are steps you can take to ease the discomfort and strengthen your body, helping you to stay independent and mobile for longer. Here are some steps you can take to manage your knee and hip pain:


1. Change Your Routines

If you’re experiencing knee or hip pain as a result of a specific activity (like a particular exercise at the gym, or while going up and down stairs), try decreasing the frequency of that activity or cutting it out of your routine altogether if possible. Even if this won’t solve existing arthritis in your knees or hips, it will ease the strain on the joints that are already causing you trouble.


2. Take Over-the-Counter Medication

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce swelling in your joints, helping you to be more comfortable in your day-to-day activities. Talk to your doctor before starting any new medication, especially if you are considering taking more than the recommended dosage!


3. Exercise Your Joints

While you shouldn’t do anything that will further injure your knees and hips, there are several exercises you can do to stretch and strengthen your joints. Regularly performing safe and effective exercises can help you retain mobility despite the onset of arthritis pain in your knees and hips. Not sure what exercises to do? Keep reading for more ideas — and you can also discuss this with your doctor and get their recommendation.


4. Seek Professional Help

There are several other treatment options available for particularly painful or concerning knee and hip pain. Your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist or recommend medical interventions such as corticosteroid injections or, depending on the circumstances, a full knee and hip replacement. Ask your doctor if any of these treatments are right for you.




Hip and Knee Exercises for Seniors

Ready to give your joints a boost of strength and flexibility? Join a senior-friendly fitness class, or try out one or more of these exercises. And remember to take care when trying new exercises and always consult your doctor to be sure exercises like these are ideal for you.


For the Hip Flexors: Butterfly Pose

  1. Sit on the floor with your back straight
  2. Bend your knees out to the sides with the soles of your feet touching in front of you
  3. Place your hands on your feet and inhale
  4. As you slowly exhale, lean forward until you feel the stretch (but keep your back straight)
  5. Maintain this pose for 30-60 seconds or as long as is comfortable and you feel a stretch


For Stabilizing and Obliques: Side Hip Raises

  1. Lay on one side, with a pillow under your head for support if needed
  2. Place your opposite hand on the floor in front of your chest for more stability
  3. With legs straight, raise the top leg up slowly, then lower it back down (try to do this no faster than a count of five)
  4. Repeat five times on each side


For Alignment and Back Support: Standing Hip Extension

  1. With shoulders and back aligned and straight, stand with feet no more than hip distance apart
  2. Keep knees straight, but stabilize yourself with a chair or table in front of you to prevent falling forward
  3. Extend one leg backward, continuing to keep your knees straight and breathing through the movement
  4. Return your leg to its starting position
  5. Repeat the exercise with the other leg



For Knee Range of Motion: Knee Extension

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and back straight
  2. Straighten one leg in front of you and hold for several seconds before returning to the starting position
  3. Repeat 10 times, alternating legs



For Hamstrings: Standing Knee Flexion

  1. With shoulders and back aligned and straight, stand with feet no more than hip distance apart
  2. Stabilize yourself with a chair or table in front of you to prevent falling
  3. Bend one knee behind you as high as possible until you feel a stretch
  4. Return leg to starting position and repeat 10 times
  5. Repeat the exercise with the other leg



Discover A Loving, Supportive Community at St. Anthony’s

With exercise classes to strengthen our residents’ bodies, activities to engage their minds, and a fun-loving community of seniors and staff ready to welcome you home, there truly is no place like St. Anthony’s for Kansas City senior living! 

Contact us to schedule your tour of our beautiful campus.