It turns out that exercise is not as likely to ruin your knees as you think

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For those interested train more but are worried about their knees, a new study from researchers in the UK this week can provide some reassurance. The research, a review of existing evidence, found no link between exercise and a greater risk of knee osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis to plague the joint.

Arthritis is another name for arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage that protects a joint wears down slowly over time, leaving the joint vulnerable to damage and swelling. About 32.5 million Americans have some form of osteoarthritis, although its symptoms vary depending on how far it has come. Those with mild to moderate osteoarthritis may experience occasional joint pain and stiffness that can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and home remedies, while those with severe osteoarthritis may experience debilitating pain and disability that can only be helped with knee surgery. replacement.

Age is the biggest risk factor for osteoarthritis, along with others like sex (women report it more often), genetics and weight as it can strain the knees more. Physically stressful jobs that require many heavy lifts and squats have also been linked to osteoarthritis. It is less clearly about physical activity outside of work can cause or aggravate knee osteoarthritis, even if it is certainly one common fear that exercises like running will eventually ruin your knees.

The authors of this new paper, published Wednesday in Arthritis & Rheumatology, looked at data from six previous studies that track a total of 5,065 participants over the age of 45 for about five to 12 years, all together Had not diagnosed knee osteoarthritis at the start of the study. This kind of research is known as a meta-analysis but the authors went a step further than most studies do, by first collecting the raw patient data from each study and then re-analyzing it all at once. These meta-analyzes at the “individual patient level” are more time consuming and expensive to perform but is generally considered more reliable as a result, as they can better account for the many differences across studies.

In the end, the authors found no significant association between the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis and neither the amount of regular exercise nor the time spent exercising.

“Knowing that the amount of physical activity and time spent doing it is not related to the development of knee osteoarthritis is important evidence for both clinicians and the general public, who may need to consider this when prescribing physical activity for health,” “said co-lead author Thomas Perry, a researcher at the University of Oxford in the UK, in a statement from Wiley, the publishers of the journal.

Other research has creates doubt ISLANDn the idea of ​​specific types of exercise, in particular race, will inevitably judge your knees, and regular runners may have a lower-than-average risk (this is not to say that some types of knee pain are not more usually for them). For those who already have osteoarthritis, stretching and strength exercises can even help relieve symptoms, and too much inactivity can do more harm than good by causing stiffness.

The studies are dependent on self-reported training levels, so they are subject to a certain bias. And the researchers were not able to look at the effect of individual exercises on the knee. So it is possible that there may be a link between specific forms of exercise and knee osteoarthritis, either good or bad, or with training among people who are already susceptible to knee problems due to pre-existing injuries. The authors say more research is needed to tease these interactions – ideally by relying on objective measurements of physical activity.

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