How walking can lead to healthier knees.
According to a recently published study in Arthritis and Rheumatology and conducted by Baylor College of Medicine According to researchers, walking can help people age 50 and older with knee osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, to relieve general pain. In addition, the study results suggest that walking for physical activity may be a successful treatment to reduce joint wear and tear.
“Until this realization, there has been a lack of credible treatments that limit both the damage and pain of osteoarthritis,” said Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, assistant professor of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor, chief of rheumatology at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and first author of the paper.
The data for the study came from participants in the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multi-year observational study in which they self-reported how often and for how long they exercised. Participants who reported 50 or more physical activities from age 10 were classified as “walkers,” while those who reported less were classified as “non-walkers.”
Those who reported exercising were 40% less likely to experience new frequent knee pain compared to non-walkers.
“These results are especially helpful for people who have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis but don’t have knee pain every day,” said Lo, who is also a researcher at the Center for Innovations in Quality, Efficacy and Safety at Baylor and the VA . “This study supports the possibility that walking after exercise may help prevent the onset of daily knee pain. It can also slow the progression of joint damage caused by osteoarthritis.”
Lo noted that additional health benefits of walking for exercise include improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and some cancers, which are the main reasons for the Centers for Disease Control’s physical activity recommendations, first published in 2008 and updated in 2018. like drugs, which sometimes come at a steep price and the possibility of side effects, walking is a free activity with few side effects.
“People diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis should walk, especially if they don’t have daily knee pain,” advises Lo. “If you already have daily knee pain, it can still be beneficial, especially if you have the type of arthritis that makes your knees bendy.”
Reference: “Association Between Walking for Exercise and Symptomatic and Structural Progression in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative Cohort” by Grace H. Lo, MD, MSc, Surabhi Vinod, MD, Michael J. Richard, BS , Matthew S Harkey, Ph.D., Timothy E. McAlindon, MD, Andrea M. Kriska, Ph.D., Bonny Rockette-Wagner, Ph.D., Charles B. Eaton, MD, Marc C. Hochberg, MD , Rebecca D Jackson, MD, C. Kent Kwoh, MD, Michael C. Nevitt, Ph.D. and Jeffrey B. Driban, Ph.D., June 8, 2022, Arthritis and Rheumatology.
Lo was supported by K23 AR062127, an NIH/NIAMS-funded mentoring grant; This work was supported in part by resources from the VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Efficiency and Safety (#CIN 13-413) at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.