Walking can prevent knee pain from osteoarthritis, according to new research, which shows that regular strolls can prevent the development of the common complaints that come in the early stages of the disease.

Grace Lo from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas in the United States and her team examined more than 1,200 patients with knee osteoarthritis for a study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology in June.

Although walking helped those in early-stages osteoarthritis, no such effect was measurable in people who already had pain from the condition.

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends regular physical activity to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, Lo said, noting that their researc

Experiencing knee pain in your 50s? Start walking

Walking can prevent knee pain from osteoarthritis, according to new research, which shows that regular strolls can prevent the development of the common complaints that come in the early stages of the disease.

Grace Lo from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas in the United States and her team examined more than 1,200 patients with knee osteoarthritis for a study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology in June.

Although walking helped those in early-stages osteoarthritis, no such effect was measurable in people who already had pain from the condition.

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends regular physical activity to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, Lo said, noting that their research now also showed the long-term benefits of exercise for osteoarthritis patients.

Estimates suggest that around one in 10 adults have osteoarthritis, with people older than 50 and women particularly affected.

The condition typically comes when years of stress leads to a gradual degradation of the cartilage substance in the knee joint, among other places.

If the protective cartilage is destroyed, this leads to severe pain. Those affected can no longer put proper weight on their knee, and become limited in the kind of sports and everyday activities they can do.

Doctors often prescribe painkillers or inject cortisone into the joint space to relieve the acute symptoms. However, this does not stop the progressive destruction of the joint. Those affected often need an operation or an artificial knee joint.

Lo and her team focused their work on more than 1,200 patients over 50 years of age at four US hospitals. While some complained of knee pain at the start, in others the condition was only visible in X-rays.

To investigate the influence of walking on osteoarthritis, the patients repeatedly filled out questionnaires about the frequency of their knee pain over a period of eight years. At the same time, they indicated how often and how long they walked actively each day.

Patients who exercised regularly and did not complain of pain at the beginning of the observation period were clearly at an advantage, being 40% less likely to develop knee pain compared to non-walkers.

Joint wear and tear also progressed more slowly. Patients with bow legs benefited particularly from regular walking.- dpa



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