Encouraging new research suggests that walking can help prevent new knee pain in people with osteoarthritis.
Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people aged 50 or older with knee osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the United States.Some people have persistent pain to begin with, while others don’t.Four years later, those who started without regular knee pain and walked for at least 10 movements were less likely to experience new, regular knee stiffness or pain and had less structural damage to the knee.The study suggests that people with knee osteoarthritis may particularly benefit from walking.
Osteoarthritis, sometimes called “wear and tear” arthritis, affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and occurs when joint cartilage breaks down and changes begin to occur in the bones below.The risk of developing the disease increases with age, with about one-third of people over the age of 60 suffering from knee osteoarthritis, health experts said.Health experts added that many patients take drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen for pain.
Instead, they may turn to exercise.For decades, health experts have primarily viewed walking as a way to boost cardiovascular health.In recent years, however, doctors have sought low-impact exercise to treat conditions such as depression, cognitive impairment and mild osteoarthritis.But new research suggests that walking can also be used as a preventive measure, health experts said, and suggests that those at higher risk may want to incorporate regular walking into their daily routine.
The study, which began in 2004, recorded participants’ baseline knee pain and assessed their osteoarthritis using radiographs.The researchers then asked the participants to record their exercise habits and review their symptoms at regular follow-up visits, asking them how often they injured their knees.
After four years, 37 percent of study participants who didn’t exercise on foot (excluding occasional train or grocery trips) had new, frequent knee pain, compared with 26 percent who walked.
Of course, researchers can’t say for sure that walking avoids knee pain, and it doesn’t seem to reduce existing pain.Self-assessments may not be as accurate as fitness trackers or pedometers.The researchers did not track how far or how often people walked, nor did they recommend strategies for how and when people with osteoarthritis should incorporate walking into their exercise routines.
Nonetheless, these results support what clinicians already know about how to manage osteoarthritis.Continued exercise can help build muscle mass and strengthen the ligaments around joints with osteoarthritis, says health experts .Walking is a low-impact, low-impact exercise that allows people to maintain the strength and flexibility that are essential for healthy joints, she added.
“It’s an intervention that anyone can do,” health experts said.”You have no excuses. You can do it anywhere.”
However,those who are already in pain should be careful not to exercise excessively.Walking long distances may exacerbate pain in some patients with severe arthritis, but for those with less arthritis, “it’s one of the best exercises you can do,” health experts said.
Health experts recommends that people start with small, short walks and gradually increase the distance over time.The goal of the exercise, they said, is to provide muscle support for an arthritic knee and to acclimate the joints, tendons and tissues to walking.
Health experts also recommends using supportive shoes, drinking plenty of fluids when walking, and taking frequent breaks if you’re tired or just getting in touch.Knee ice may also help relieve discomfort after a long walk, he added.
While walking down the street won’t repair cartilage or treat existing pain, the exercise offers a compelling and easy-to-use option to avoid the more invasive aspects of osteoarthritis, health experts said.
Post time: Jul-29-2022