10 Easy Orthopedic Exercises for Joint Health and Mobility


Want to get moving again without pain and stiffness? Try these simple orthopedic exercises you can do at home.

Perhaps you’ve undergone orthopedic surgery and want to regain your flexibility and strength. Or maybe you suffer from arthritis and hope to reduce your joint pain and stiffness. Well, there are simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home without spending money on gym classes. By performing these easy orthopedic exercises every day, you’ll greatly enhance your joint health and overall mobility without the need for expensive equipment or a gym membership. 

But you don’t have to have had an operation or a chronic condition to benefit from these simple activities. For a relatively short time commitment, you can reduce your aches and pains, unlock rigid muscles and joints, and feel much better physically and emotionally — all by doing these easy orthopedic exercises.

The 10 easy orthopedic exercises you should be doing now

Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, and go slowly at first when trying new movements. While you should feel a comfortable stretch in your muscles, you should never experience intense pain. If you do, stop and rest before beginning again.

These 10 orthopedic exercises are by no means the only ones for joint health and mobility, but they’re a good starting point toward your movement goals.

Stretching exercises

Hamstring stretch. Lie on your back and lift your left leg while grabbing your left thigh. Pull your left knee to your chest. Then, straighten your left leg as much as you can, feeling a stretch in the back of your left thigh. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, and repeat on the other side.

Standing hip flexor stretch. Stand facing a bench or sturdy chair, with both feet forward. Plant your left foot on the bench, placing your foot past your knee with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Shift your weight toward the foot on the bench. You should feel a stretch along the front of the right hip and your right calf. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, and repeat on the other side. 

Quadriceps stretch. Lie face down on the floor using your right forearm for support if needed. Bend your left knee and grab the ankle or shin with your left hand. Lift your knee until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for a few seconds, and switch sides.

Lat stretch. Stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms in the air,  and clasp your hands together. At the same time you pull upward, lean over to your left side, keeping your lower body straight. The stretch will be along your right side. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times on each side.

Strengthening exercises

The clam. Lie on one side. Bend your hips and knees at 90 degrees, making sure to align your shoulders, hips, and feet. Keeping your feet together, lift the top knee as far as possible and hold the stretch for three to five seconds. Slowly lower your leg. Repeat on the other side. Do this exercise 10 to 25 times, twice daily, to strengthen your buttocks.

Straight leg raise. Lie flat on your back. Bend your right knee while keeping your left foot planted. With toes pointed to the ceiling, lift your left leg to a 45-degree angle, keeping your left knee straight. Lower the left leg back to the floor. Do 10 to 20 repetitions, and switch to the opposite side. This workout will strengthen the front thigh muscles.

The bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be close to your buttocks but a bit wider than hip distance apart. Squeezing your glutes, slowly raise your pelvis while keeping your knees aligned over your ankles. Hold the top position for three to five seconds, then lower your body down to the starting position. Do 10 to 20 repetitions.

Weight training. Weight training doesn’t automatically mean lifting heavy weights. You can use lighter weights or resistance bands. Even a one-liter water bottle will do. Find a weight you can lift with your arms comfortably 12 to 15 times. 

Mobility exercises

Cat cows. Position yourself on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees directly below your hips. Inhale and pull your belly button to your spine while curving your lower back. Hold the “cow” position for two to three seconds. Transition to the “cat” pose by arching your back and looking upward. Hold this position for two to three seconds. Do eight times in each position, following your breath. 

Hip switch. Sit up straight on the floor, placing your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend both knees at 90-degree angles. As you keep both heels on the floor and in that same seated pose, move your knees from side to side. Maintain your upright position as you rotate your knees, moving from your hips. Complete six repetitions on each side.

Let’s get mobile!

Stiff muscles and joints can cramp your lifestyle, making everyday tasks and workouts harder to do. But you can get moving freely again with the help of the physicians and physical therapists at New York Bone & Joint Specialists. As a leading center for sports medicine, New York Bone & Joint Specialists will show you the orthopedic exercises and other activities to help reduce your pain and improve your mobility. Contact us for a consultation.

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