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Taking regular exercise can really help manage and improve the effects of osteoarthritis, whatever your age or level of fitness. If osteoarthritis causes you pain and stiffness, you may be forgiven in thinking that exercise will make your symptoms worse. But usually, regular exercise that keeps you active and mobile and builds up muscle, thereby strengthening the joints, will improve symptoms.

Your physical activity should include a combination of exercises to strengthen your muscles and exercises to improve your general fitness.

You may wish to discuss any concerns you may have with your GP or Physiotherapist. The severity of your arthritis may mean you need extra support to safely and effectively increase your physical activity and your GP or health professional may refer you to Exercise on Referral, where specialist exercise professionals can help you develop an individualised exercise programme based on your needs and preferences. It is important that you follow this plan, as there may be a risk that the wrong sort of exercise may damage your joints and aggravate your condition.

Taking regular exercise will also contribute to weight control, helping to reduce the stress placed on joints over time. Your GP and practice nurse can also advise you about how to lose weight slowly and safely and services are available.

New health guidance reinforces the benefits of exercising, highlighting the core treatment for osteoarthritis remains exercise - it not only helps relieve pain for some people but also improves function. For people with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese, losing weight as part of helping osteoporosis self-management will benefit the condition.

For weight management services within Shropshire, see internal link and more information on managing arthritis please see external links.


If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.

Fact Zone

Professor Philip Conaghan, Chair of the NICE Guideline Development Group, and Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: “The symptoms often caused by osteoarthritis, such as pain and limited joint movement, can be managed with muscle strengthening, exercise and weight loss if people are overweight.”


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