Osteoarthritis: New Study Shows How to Limit Knee Pain
July 10, 2022
According to a study recently published in the Arthritis & Rheumatology journal, individuals who suffer from knee osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) can stave off new bouts of pain or worsening pain simply by introducing more walking to their lifestyle. This new data is not only hopeful, but also provides people who struggle with osteoarthritis an easy – and free – outlet for reducing uncomfortable complications and symptoms associated with the disease.
What is Osteoarthritis? Risk Factors and Symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 32.5 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. People develop osteoarthritis when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time, leading to joint damage and discomfort. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis as the damage to the joints cannot be reversed, this recent study is just one example of the options for managing the disease, preventing further progression, improving joint function and reducing pain levels.
According to the CDC, there are certain risk factors for osteoarthritis. Here are some examples:
- The risk of developing osteoarthritis increases with age
- Joint injury or overuse, such as knee bending and repetitive stress on a joint can cause damage, thereby increasing the chances for developing osteoarthritis in that area
- Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men are, especially women over the age of 50-years-old
- Extra weight puts more pressure on the joints, particularly on weight-bearing ones like the knees and hips. This extra pressure increases the risk for the disease. Research also suggests that obesity may cause metabolic effects that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis
- People who have a family history of osteoarthritis are more likely to develop it themselves. Similarly, people who have a personal history of osteoarthritis are more likely to develop additional complications in the future. For example, someone who has osteoarthritis in the hand is more likely to develop it in their knee compared to an individual who has no family or personal history of the disease
Some of the most common symptoms associated with osteoarthritis include pain in the affected joints that may hurt doing movement, stiffness (which may be more noticeable upon waking or after a period of inactivity), joint tenderness, a loss of flexibility and a reduced range of motion, a grating sensation when the joint is in use (this is sometimes accompanied by a cracking or popping noise), bone spurs (or extra bits of bone that form around the affected joint), and swelling, which sometimes results from soft tissue inflammation that surrounds the affected area.
The Study’s Findings
The study included more than 1,000 individuals over the age of 50 with knee osteoarthritis. Some of the individuals included in the study experienced persistent pain at the outset of the disease, while others did not. After a four year-period, researchers found that the individuals who started out without frequent knee pain and who walked at least 10 times were not only less likely to experience new, regular pain in or around their knees, but that they also incurred less structural damage in the affected joints. All in all, 37% of the study’s participants who did not walk for exercise developed new, persistent knee pain as compared to 26% who incorporated walking into their lifestyles.
Walking can also reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis for those who have a greater chance of developing the disease, such as older individuals or those with a family history. Although the study’s findings are not conclusive, they do indicate the numerous benefits of walking in addition to highlighting the importance of continuing to find effective, low-impact strategies that people with osteoarthritis can incorporate into their lifestyles in order to mitigate uncomfortable complications that are associated with the disease.
Tips for People with Knee Osteoarthritis
Walking is not the only important factor when it comes to managing osteoarthritis, although it certainly may be one of the most beneficial. If you suffer from osteoarthritis, make sure you talk with your doctor and follow your recommended treatment plan. After consulting with your healthcare professional, consider the following strategies from the CDC that may also be useful for managing symptoms of your osteoarthritis:
- Learn self-management skills by taking a self-management education course. These courses are aimed towards teaching people with osteoarthritis (and other chronic health conditions) how the disease affects them and increases their confidence in regard to controlling symptoms and living comfortably. To find self-management education programs near you, visit this page.
- Get physically active. Moderate, low-impact activities like walking, bicycling and swimming are recommended for most individuals with osteoarthritis. Experts recommend that adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week
- If you are overweight or obese, try to lose weight. Losing weight helps reduce joint pressure and can also help with reducing pain, improving mobility, and reducing the progression of osteoarthritis
- Protect your joints. Choose activities that are easy on the joints and be careful to avoid injury and potentially harmful repetitive motions
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.