When you have osteoarthritis in your knee, it’s not just pain and stiffness you have to worry about. The knee’s weakness and instability also puts you at risk for losing your balance and falling, which can lead to serious injuries and health declines.

See Knee Osteoarthritis Symptoms

As knee osteoarthritis develops, it can cause the knee to lose stability and make falls more likely. Watch: Knee Osteoarthritis Video

Researchers set out to examine what methods may help people with knee osteoarthritis improve their balance and decrease their risk of falls. A systematic review of 15 randomized controlled trials—which included 1482 patients with knee OA—found some clear solutions.1

The studies revealed 3 therapies that resulted in a significant decrease is fall risk:

  1. Strength training

    Building up the muscles in your upper legs—such as the quads (front of thigh) or hamstrings (back of thigh)—can help stabilize and strengthen your legs in general and your damaged knee joint specifically. In studies, strength training has been shown to decrease pain and increase strength and function for those with arthritis.

    See Knee Strengthening Exercises

  1. Aerobic exercise

    Even though aerobic exercise is designed to increase your heart rate and get you moving, it can yield big benefits in helping you increase reflexes for better stability and strength. In addition, it can help you lose weight, which has been proven to help those with arthritis in weight-bearing joints like the knees.

    See Aerobic Exercise for Knee Arthritis

    If running is not an option for you because of knee pain, consider aerobic exercise options such as swimming or using an elliptical machine, or taking a type of aerobics or dance class that’s easier on the knees.

    See Ways to Get Exercise When You Have Arthritis

  2. Tai chi

    Even those with moderate to severe knee arthritis can usually do tai chi, because it’s very low impact. Tai chi involves moving through slow, deliberate motions usually done from a standing position. It can be done with a class or alone. A tai chi instructor may be helpful to demonstrate how to modify poses as needed because of limited range of motion.

    SeeTai Chi and Yoga for Arthritis

Learn more:

Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment

Yoga and Tai Chi for Arthritis Relief

Strength Training Can Crush Arthritis Pain


  • 1.Physical therapies for improving balance and reducing falls risk in osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review. Age Ageing. 2015 Jan;44(1):16-24. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afu112. Epub 2014 Aug 22.