Knee pain from arthritis can be prevented by walking, the study says

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Frequent knee pain was less likely to develop in those over the age of 50 arthritis and walked for exercise than those who did not walk, according to a study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine looked at over 1,200 individuals diagnosed with arthritis who were part of the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multi-year observational study in which participants self-reported the amount of time they walked for exercise.

They found that those who walked for exercise were 40 percent less likely to develop frequent new knee pains than non-walkers.

“When we looked at those who did not have regular knee pain at the start of the study, those who walked for exercise were LESS likely to develop regular knee pain than those who did not walk,” 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 study, told Fox News.

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“These findings are especially useful for people who have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis but don’t have knee pain every day,” Lo, who is also a researcher at the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety at Baylor and the VA said. a research release.

Hips and knees are the most frequent culprits of arthritis, experts say.

Hips and knees are the most frequent culprits of arthritis, experts say.

He told Fox News that the findings however suggest that once people have regular knee pain, those who walked for exercise did not have greater resolution of symptoms than those who did not walk.

“The idea here is that prevention is the key,” Lo told Fox News. If you can catch people before they experience regular symptoms and get them to walk, this could be very helpful in preventing the development of normal knee pain. The opportunity may already be missed once normal knee pain has already occurred, “Lo said in the interview.

The investigator told Fox News that if you have knee pain every day, there are still positives to walking. “If you already have daily knee pain, there could still be an advantage, especially if you have the type of arthritis in which the knees they have arched legs, “he said in the statement.

He told Fox News that the researchers also found that those who walked for exercise had less damage to their joints, based on the X-ray results. years has osteoarthritis of the knee, so “the public health implications of these findings are potentially substantial.”

Close-up of a senior couple taking a walk on the beach

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It involves “wear and tear” of the joint surfaces of the knee, physiotherapists told Fox News. This can create inflammation around the joint surfaces, erode cartilage, and contribute to pain. Physiotherapists explained to Fox News that the knee joint usually has space between the femur (thigh) and the tibia (a calf bone) and is lined with cartilage. With arthritis, the space between the joint lines eventually becomes smaller and the cartilage is “worn out” leaving the patient with a “bone to bone” scenario that is often associated with pain and potentially predisposes them for a total knee replacement. physiotherapists told Fox News.

He said walking for exercise has other health benefits as well. These include improved cardiovascular health and decreased risk of obesity, diabetes, and some cancers, which are why the CDC recommends physical activity, according to Lo. The study author also said that unlike medications, which often have a cost and potential side effects, walking is free and has minimal side effects.


Edward Farrell, PT, MS, OCS, CSCS, is a Certified Physiotherapist and Orthopedic Specialist at Physical Solutions in Long Island, New York who was not part of the study but commented on the recent report to Fox News.

“Many times in my practice we come across individuals with minimal or moderate osteoarthritis who are sadly becoming more sedentary due to some pain,” Farrell told Fox News. “The result is potential weight gain, reduced cardiovascular health and, of course, joint and muscle stiffness.”

Hands of the elderly patient

Hands of the elderly patient

Farrell who is also a certified strength and conditioning trainer said, “Often these patients feel that participation in self-care must be drastic; signing up for expensive gyms, buying fancy home equipment, when sometimes the answer might be as simple as going out for a walk.”


Farrell also said it’s important to wear quality supportive sneakers when walking and gradually increase short walks. The physical therapist also advised that while walking is important, “building some strength on the lower limbs and losing maybe five pounds can provide the necessary relief.”

Fox News asked investigators what the average length of each walk was, but they said the information was not available. Health experts told Fox News it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen and see if walking is appropriate for your situation.

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