Exercise has been shown to be beneficial for hip and knee osteoarthritis, and should ideally be done at least three times a week. Physiotherapy is of benefit in the early stages and can also be used to address difficulties with gait and balance as well as muscle strength.
Low impact exercises such as cycling, cross-trainer and swimming are encouraged. Swimming is particularly good as exercising in water will help to offload the affected joint and improve pain. It may be possible to access a short term gym membership via the “Exercise Referral Scheme” from your GP.
A good guide to exercises for knee pain can be found on the Arthritis Research UK site here.
Shock absorbing insoles may help to reduce the impact on the affected joint, but knee braces have generally not been shown to be of much benefit. One exception to this is the “Offloader” type of knee brace, which can be of benefit if you have arthritis only affecting one compartment in the knee.
If pain is interfering with your walking, you may find that a crutch or a stick gives you some additional support. For hip pain, you should use the stick in the opposite hand, whereas for knee pain, the stick should be in the same hand.