medwireNews: Findings from an observational study suggest that walking for exercise is associated with a reduced risk for developing frequent knee pain among people aged 50 years and older with knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Grace Lo (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA) and colleagues’ study included 1212 participants (mean age 63.2 years) with knee OA who were included in the Osteoarthritis Initiative in 2004–2006 and completed a physical activity survey at the 96-month follow-up. In all, 73% of these people said they could recall walking for exercise outdoors or on a treadmill at least 10 times since the age of 50 years and were considered regular walkers.
In all, 26% of individuals who walked for exercise developed new frequent knee pain during 48 weeks of follow-up, compared with 37% of those who did not, translating into a significant 40% reduced risk in the regular walkers after adjustment for age, sex, and baseline Kellgren–Lawrence grade.
Lo and team also say that regular walking for exercise was associated with a significant 20% reduction in the risk for medial joint space narrowing over this period, with 22% of walkers and 27% of non-walkers experiencing this outcome. Walking for exercise was not significantly associated with a reduction in knee pain in people with frequent pain at baseline, however.
“These findings support that walking for exercise should be encouraged for people with knee osteoarthritis,” and suggest that walking may be “beneficial from both a structural and symptomatic perspective,” write the researchers in Arthritis & Rheumatology.
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