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Knee Pain Health Center

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Exercise Won't Up Knee Arthritis Risk

Study Shows Activity Didn't Hurt Healthy Knees of Older Exercisers

Arthritis Risk and Healthy Knees

"This is another study that furthers our belief that moderate physical activity does not increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis," says Marian A. Minor, PhD, professor and chairwoman of physical therapy at the University of Missouri at Columbia, who wrote an editorial to accompany the study.

She cautions, however, that "the study results apply to healthy knees."

In the same issue, a review of 37 published studies, conducted by researchers from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, showed regular sports activities are not related to getting arthritis in the knee.

They didn't find a link, either, between knee pain, knee injury, and later arthritis in the joint.

An Exercise Physiologist's View

The research showing no increased risk of getting knee arthritis among older exercisers rings true with his clinical experience, says Richard T. Cotton, an exercise physiologist and wellness coach who serves as a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.

"People who have made it to their 50s without knee problems tend to be OK,'' he says.

To minimize the risk of problems, however, Cotton tells exercisers to increase their exercise distance very gradually, then increase speed, rather than both at once.

Good workout shoes matched to your activity -- walking, jogging, aerobics, or hiking -- are crucial, he says. "Don't wear them to mow the lawn or go to the mall," he says. Save them for the exercise activity.

And replace them every 3-6 months if you are exercising regularly, he says.

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