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Walking Now May Prevent Knee Pain Later in Life

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Boyd W. Haynes III, MD

A new study out of The Baylor College of Medicine seems to confirm what I’ve been saying for years – that motion is life!  The study was published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology and found that for those persons who were over the age of 50 who walked for exercise AND had arthritis, they were less likely to develop frequent knee pain compared to those who didn’t walk.  

This research came from The Osteoarthritis Initiative, which is a multi-year study of 1200 individuals who have osteoarthritis, who self-reported the amount and type of exercise in which they participate.  The major takeaway is that those who walked for exercise, even with osteoarthritis, were 40% less likely to develop new knee pain than those who didn’t walk.  This applied even to those persons whose x-rays showed evidence of osteoarthritis; however, those x-rays revealed less joint damage than those who didn’t walk.  Pretty impressive stuff.

The study also stresses the importance of starting a walking program before knee pain starts and notes that walking will not improve knee pain necessarily once it has started in those with osteoarthritis.  It seems that prevention is key. If that isn’t an advertisement for walking, I don’t know what is!

Additional Benefits of Walking

Besides the orthopaedic benefits you will reap many others, including improved cardiovascular health, reduced weight, lower blood pressure…the list goes on and on.  Make sure you have good supportive shoes made specifically for walking and get out there!  If you are new to walking for exercise, start small and work your way up.  Increase your distances slowly and as your strength and stamina improve, you can start adding hills and different terrain to challenge yourself.  Join a walking club or invite your spouse, family or a friend to walk with you.  If you get a lunch break at work, grab your sneakers and take a walk around the block or two.  Before you know it, you’ll have established a new routine to keep your knees healthy and pain free.

If You’re Experiencing Knee Pain, Call OSC

Call (757) 596-1900 to schedule an appointment with OSC. Visit our Contact Us page for information on office hours. Our office is located in Newport News, VA. We are 40 minutes from Virginia Beach and an hour from Richmond, VA.

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