As counterintuitive as it sounds, walking may actually help with knee pain associated with osteoarthritis, new research shows.
The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a condition that affects more than 32 million American adults. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.
The study, the results of which are published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, found that walking regularly helped stave off knee pain in osteoarthritis sufferers.
“In individuals > 50 years old with knee osteoarthritis, walking for exercise was associated with less development of frequent knee pain,” the authors wrote. “These findings support that walking for exercise should be encouraged for people with knee osteoarthritis.”
For the study, more than 1,000 people aged 50 and over with osteoarthritis were asked to report on their levels of exercise, osteoarthritis symptoms, and pain levels. After four years, more than a third (37%) who didn’t walk for exercise experienced frequent pain, while just 26% of those who walked experienced the same pain.
“Everyone’s always looking for some kind of drug. This highlights the importance and likelihood that interventions for osteoarthritis might be something different, including good old exercise,” Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, MD, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the lead author on the study, told The New York Times.
*Image by Susanne Pälmer from Pixabay