woman holds knee in pain from osteoarthritis.image courtesy:Accord Clinical Research

Researchers found that overweight or obese adults experienced slower degeneration of knee joint structures after losing 5 or 10 percent of their body weight over 4 years, compared with those who did not lose weight.

Obesity is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis, one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. A new study provides evidence that losing weight can slow the development of osteoarthritis of the knee by reducing the degeneration of knee cartilage.

Evidence shows that being overweight increases the strain on your joints ,especially your knees. Being overweight not only increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis but also makes it more likely that your arthritis will get worse over time.

Because of the way your joints work, the force put through your knees when you walk, especially on stairs and slopes, can be several times your actual body weight. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a big difference to the strain on your weight-bearing joints.

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that causes the cushion layer between one’s bones, or cartilage to wear away. It is also called degenerative joint disease.Symptoms are similar to Rheumatoid arthritis and develop in the same slow manner. They include pain, tenderness in the knee, stiffness when standing or walking, loss of flexibility, and grating sensations that can be heard when the knee joint  is used.

Osteoarthritis in the knee begins with the gradual deterioration of cartilage. Without the protective cartilage, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain, loss of mobility, and deformity.It affects approximately 16 million people. The majority of arthritis cases involving the knee are osteoarthritic cases.

If your knees often make popping or cracking noises as you move around, you may be at an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, a new study suggests.

The knee joint is where the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia) meet. It allows the bones to move freely but within limits.

The knee is the largest joint in the body and also one of the most complicated. It needs to be strong enough to take our weight and must lock into position so we can stand upright. But it also has to act as a hinge so we can walk, and it must withstand extreme stresses, twists and turns, such as when we run or play sports.

Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multi-centre U.S. observational study of nearly 3,500 participants, involved people who were at a high risk of developing osteoarthritis. Among those who developed the condition within a year, more than 75 per cent had signs of osteoarthritis on radiographic images but no frequent knee pain at the start of the study.

Researchers say the study’s findings may help identify people who are at risk for knee osteoarthritis, and help them get an earlier diagnosis and treatment.

“Many people who have signs of osteoarthritis on X-rays do not necessarily complain of pain, and there are no known strategies for preventing the development of pain in this group of people,” Dr. Grace Lo, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a news release.

According to Lo, if people have noisy knees, they are at higher risk for developing pain within the next year compared with the people who do not have noisy knees.

Pain that accompanies the crackling and popping sounds could indicate a problem.

The findings may be helpful for identifying individuals at risk for knee osteoarthritis, potentially assisting with earlier diagnosis and intervention, the researchers added.

It is not always certain why arthritis of the knee develops. Most physicians believe that it is a combination of factors that can include muscle weakness,obesity ,heredity, joint injury or stress, constant exposure to the cold, and aging. Having gout,rheumatoid arthritis, Paget’s disease of bone or septic arthritis can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility as well as help strengthen the muscles in the leg. Physical therapy and exercise are often effective in reducing pain and improving function.

Working with a physical therapist to find exercises that promote function without risking further injury is effective for most patients. Many of the exercises used can be performed while sitting in a chair or standing in place. They are performed so that additional stress or weight is not placed on the knee joint. Water exercises are highly recommended along with the use of elastic bands.

Swimming is very good for people with osteoarthritis because the water supports your weight, so you won’t put a lot of strain on your joints. Hydrotherapy (exercises in a warm water) can help get muscles and joints working, and it can be very relaxing.




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