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Exercise therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: gymnastics for joints
Exercise therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: gymnastics for joints

Rheumatoid arthritis is an ailment characterized by deformity, limited mobility / immobility of the joints. Exercise therapy, massage, physiotherapy allow you to stop the development of the disease. Physiotherapy exercises strengthens the ligaments, muscles, restores the range of motion.

Exercise therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: indications and contraindications

Therapeutic exercises should be performed by absolutely all patients. With restrictions, they are engaged in breathing exercises or are treated with a position.


  • exacerbation of the disease, accompanied by pain / inflammation;
  • systemic symptoms with damage to internal organs;
  • concomitant chronic diseases (respiratory / vascular insufficiency, infections).

What you need to know before starting exercise therapy

Only a rehabilitation doctor can choose a set of exercises, assessing the degree of damage to the motor system. There are several studies, but functional-motor studies are most effective. The duration of the diagnosis of violations is up to 10 minutes. The patient must perform several movements for which points are given.

According to the results of the study, violations are assessed:

  • there are no functional limitations;
  • working capacity is preserved;
  • lost the ability to work;
  • the patient cannot serve himself.

According to the data obtained, distribution into groups is carried out, a complex of exercise therapy is selected.

Exercise therapy methods, stages of classes

There are several options for classes:

  • individual - the best option for seriously ill patients, as well as for rehabilitation after surgery;
  • group - accessible and rational, patients are united in groups for limitation of mobility;
  • advisory - patients are taught charging for use at home.

Physiotherapy will be effective only with a systematic and regular exercise. You do not need to make significant efforts: after the load, there should be a surge of strength, an increase in mobility.

In stationary conditions, rehabilitation is carried out in 3 stages:

  1. Preparation - teaching relaxation, proper breathing. Duration - 1-2 days. Lesson time - a quarter of an hour;
  2. The basis is the basic complex. Duration - 2 weeks. Time - about half an hour;
  3. Conclusion - learning exercises to do at home.

Position treatment

If a person is seriously ill, practically cannot move, this technique is used. Like other methods, it is allowed only during the period of remission of the disease.

The patient should be on an even, hard mattress, preferably on an orthopedic mattress. The feet should have a support (for example, a headboard). The position of the whole body is changed once an hour.

If contractures are observed, splints are applied or weights, rollers, etc. are used. For example, for rheumatoid arthritis of the hip joint, a two-level mattress is used so that the relaxed leg is extended.

Hand gymnastics

The fingers are a favorite site for rheumatoid arthritis. The diseased limb becomes like a flipper, which is why it is limited in functionality.

How to stop brush deformation:

  1. Do not move your fingers to the little finger;
  2. Reduce the stress on their pads;
  3. Correctly keep your hand at rest;
  4. For writing - only thick, tapered pens;
  5. In everyday life, the axis of motion of the joints should not deviate to the side;
  6. At night, an orthosis is applied - a device that restricts movement.

A set of exercises for the hands:

  1. Starting position (hereinafter referred to as IP): arms are extended in parallel forward. Turn palms up and down;
  2. IP - brushes on the table. Raise / lower them, and then the same thing, but only fingers;
  3. IP - arms are extended forward, fingers are clenched into fists. Rotate your fists clockwise and counterclockwise;
  4. SP - elbows on the table, palms clenched. To spread / bring your elbows, keeping them on the table;
  5. Alternately move each finger up / down, right / left, in a circle;
  6. Alternately touch the thumb with everyone else;
  7. Squeeze / unclench the ball in your hand, roll it on the table;
  8. Rotate the brush in the wrist, the palm should be relaxed;
  9. Rub palm on palm.

Each exercise is performed up to 7 times. Soreness should not occur during execution.

Therapeutic exercises for rheumatoid arthritis of the shoulder girdle

The following exercises - dynamic - related to the position of the body in space. They help patients to restore joint mobility, and also prevent the development of contractures.

Another type is isometric - the muscles work, but the limb does not move. These strengthen the muscles even with a pronounced limitation of motor function. A vivid example: press with your arms extended along the body on the surface, lying on your back.

Exercise for the shoulder girdle:

  1. Shoulders up and down, back and forth;
  2. IP - palms on the shoulders. Bring your elbows forward;
  3. IP - clasp your elbows with your palms. Raise and lower limbs;
  4. IP - lie on your back. Bend, raise-lower straight arms;
  5. IP - hands on the belt. Alternately wind the limbs behind the head;
  6. Hug yourself.

An important condition for any exercise is to constantly monitor the rhythm of breathing.

A set of exercises for the legs

  1. Lie on your back. Bend the limb at the knee without lifting the foot off the floor (sliding movement);
  2. Exercise "Bicycle";
  3. Bend the limbs at the knees, bring them apart;
  4. Swing straight leg to the side. The exercise is performed in two positions: lying and standing (hold onto the support);
  5. Bend the limb at the knee joint, make circular movements in the hip joint;
  6. Lie on your back, spread the straightened limbs to the sides;
  7. Straighten your legs, alternately carry out circular movements.

If the exercises are isometric, then with rheumatoid arthritis you will need the help of another person. He must resist and prevent the injured leg from moving.

Therapeutic gymnastics for the ankle joint

This joint in rheumatoid arthritis does not often suffer, however, its defeat is one of the most serious manifestations of the disease. Deformation of the ankle occurs very quickly, as a result of which the limitation of movement occurs abruptly.

In order to prevent contractures, it is recommended to engage in exercise therapy specifically for the ankle:

  1. In a sitting position, bend-unbend the toes / feet;
  2. Roll from toe to heel, then vice versa;
  3. Leaning on something, put on your toes;
  4. Pick up various objects from the floor with your toes;
  5. Roll balls / sticks on the floor with your feet;
  6. Circular foot movements;
  7. Walk across the stick, stepping in the middle of the sole.

Doing exercise therapy, you need to alternate dynamic and isometric exercises. During classes, you need to constantly monitor your breathing.

To increase the load in rheumatoid arthritis, gradually increase the range of motion and the number of approaches.

Exercise in the water

With rheumatoid arthritis, this technique is the best fit, because in the water there is practically no load on the joints. Water exercises are suitable even for those who are almost completely limited in movement.

The degree of immersion determines the intensity of the load, due to which physical activity is gradually restored. In addition, the warm water in the pool reduces pain.

Classes in water for rheumatoid arthritis are contraindicated only in the following cases:

  • open wounds in the skin;
  • chlorine hypersensitivity;
  • conjunctivitis;
  • diseases of the ENT organs;
  • sexually transmitted diseases.

Daily activities, tailored to the course of rheumatoid arthritis, restore muscle tone, improve well-being and restore joint mobility. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact a doctor for exercise therapy.

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