The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Top Ways To Prevent Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Posted by on Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

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Knee replacement surgeries are up 162 percent in the past two decades. Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when the cartilage and underlying bone within a joint breaks down, leading to pain and stiffness. Surgery can help prevent disability, but there is no true “cure.” If you are a female over 40, then you are in the risk pool for this disease.  Many osteoarthritis patients sustained an injury while playing sports or overexerting themselves. People who have diabetes, an under-active thyroid, gout or Paget’s disease also carry a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Strive To Maintain A Healthy Weight.

The best way to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee is to maintain a healthy body mass index. It’s debatable whether diet or exercise is more important in weight loss, but finding a formula of healthy behaviors that work for you can have a life-altering effect. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in three obese people suffer from arthritis. “Obesity is one of the most important modifiable factors contributing to the need for joint replacements,” explains Joseph D. Zuckerman, chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU. Recent studies have found that an overweight person with knee arthritis who loses just one pound can see a twofold to fourfold reduction in the load placed on the knee joints. Another study concluded that losing 11 pounds over a 10-year period decreases one’s chances of developing osteoarthritis by 50 percent.

 

Keep Joints Lubricated.

Groundbreaking research coming out of Rhode Island Hospital found that a lack of lubricin — a protein that our bodies naturally produce — resulted in higher friction and cartilage cell death. According to lead author Gregory D. Jay, the discovery “supports that adding a lubricin replacement to the fluid in joints may in fact prevent osteoarthritis in those who have a genetic predisposition to the illness, or who have suffered significant trauma to the joints.”

Wear Comfy Shoes.

Wearing flat, flexible “mobility shoes” can reduce the work load on the knee by 18 percent, according to the study conducted by Najia Shakoor, a rheumatologist at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Further tests are being conducted to see if this treatment might slow down the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Take It Easy.

If you want to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee, find a healthy medium. Light exercise like walking and avoiding frequent knee bending “appear to protect against the development of osteoarthritis of the knee” for high-risk patients, according to a study of 99 women and 66 men in their forties and fifties presented at the Radiological Society of North America’s 96th Scientific Assembly. Even moderately strenuous exercise increases the risk of wearing down cartilage, they added.

The study’s senior author, Thomas M. Link, MD of the University of California at San Francisco, defined “light exercisers” as people who walked at least three days a week and engaged in low-impact activities like table tennis or bowling. “Moderate to strenuous exercisers” participated in soccer, basketball, cycling, running and tennis at least three days a week. Subjects with the most damage were people who: climbed more than 10 flights of stairs a day, squatted or did deep knee bends for over thirty minutes a day, or lifted objects weighing over 25 pounds.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.