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A Shocking Better Way To Help Knee Osteoarthritis

knee pain

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)

sandbag workouts

The number of clients I had over the years with painful knees was many, at least when they first started. A common issue was when people would tell me they had osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee and is a degenerative process where the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away. Most commonly it affects middle-age and older people but it can impact younger people as well (not as likely though).

How does osteoarthritis of the knee come about? There are several factors that can contribute to its development…

-If we are too overweight and place consistent stress on the knee.

-If someone is very active and puts a lot of stress on the knee through heavy loading (not just lifting, but running and jumping even more.)

-Genetic predisposition

-A history of knee injury

You may have noticed that being inactive and being very active can be risk factors for knee osteoarthritis, which is partly why up to 46% of people will experience knee osteoarthritis in their life. It isn’t doom’s day though and there are ways to help! Because knee osteoarthritis can be very painful a lot of people end up thinking working out isn’t for them but you will see that isn’t the case.

Research does tell us that both education about the condition and appropriate exercise can be very beneficial,

“There is high-quality evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of education and exercise to improve function in individuals with knee OA. Data from 9825 patients with hip or knee OA showed that a 6-week combination intervention comprising three sessions of patient education delivered over the course of two weeks and 12 sessions of neuromuscular exercise delivered twice per week had beneficial effects on OA symptoms, physical function, medication intake, and sick leave time. Furthermore, some beneficial effects introduced by the interventions, including increased physical activity and quality of life, were maintained after one year.” (1)

knee osteoarthritis

Usually some stretching and strengthening can help, but people often vary how much they can handle and how far they can move in a given range of motion when training. That is why people should always remember that they can reduce the range of motion of an exercise or modify a variety of variables so that the training can be more tolerable. Much of what we share in DVRT with hip bridges and lateral band walks can be very helpful.

You see how we can build progression just by altering our body position

While the above are great strategies, there is one that people may not only overlook for knee osteoarthritis, but may be even more effective than what we typically think of as strength training solutions. In a 2016 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine compared tai chi training to physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis. Both groups improved, but the tai chi improved slightly more in measures of Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. As the researchers also pointed out, ” Of note, the Tai Chi group had significantly greater improvements in depression and the physical component of quality of life. The benefit of Tai Chi was consistent across instructors (2)”.

Other studies have found such benefits which is really exciting because this provides us with more means of having progression and options to give people in helping their function and pain levels. Why does tai chi help? The “moving meditation” aspect helps with levels of perceived pain, the stances, weight shifting, focus on “rooting” with the feet also helps build stability, mobility, and strength that can really help people with knee osteoarthritis.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a tai chi master to benefit from these studies. Our Myofascial Integrated Movement has used a lot of these concepts as a foundation for those that want similar benefits without having to take formal tai chi or other similar types of classes (nothing wrong with doing so, but we know people look how to implement these ideas into their current routines). Check out some great training tips that Josh provides below in how to introduce these strategies for those with knee osteoarthritis and how they will also improve your other lower body training and functional fitness overall.

Don’t miss our upcoming Foot & Knee Masterclass where we will go in-depth into these ideas and much more HERE. If you want to check out our Myofascial Integrated Movement programs, you can do so HERE and save 20% with code “save20”


  1. Dantas, Lucas Ogura, Tania de Fátima Salvini, and Timothy E. McAlindon. “Knee osteoarthritis: key treatments and implications for physical therapy.” Brazilian journal of physical therapy 25.2 (2021): 135-146.
  2. Wang, Chenchen, et al. “Comparative effectiveness of Tai Chi versus physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized trial.” Annals of internal medicine 165.2 (2016): 77-86.