Many people with knee osteoarthritis decrease or stop exercising at the level suggested by the World Health Organisation (150 minute per week of moderate-vigorous exercise) due to fear of making their arthritis worse. However, a recent medical research trial studied 1978 knees with OA or at a high risk of OA participating in different levels of physical activity over 4 years. The researchers used pedometers to assess the activity levels of the people over the 4 year period and assessed the knees on xray at the beginning, at 2 years and at 4 years. They found no increased progression on OA shown on the xrays in the exercising people compared with the sedentary people.
This research proves that people who have knee OA, or are at risk of knee OA (meaning they have 2 or more risk factors such as obesity) will not make their arthritis worse by exercising at the recommended intensity for 30 minutes 5 days per week. This is fantastic news for people who have risk factors for knee OA, or have knee OA as well as other health issues that would benefit from exercise. The best way of managing knee arthritis is to maintain movement of the joint, increase the strength in the muscles around the knee and decrease body weight (if applicable). Now we can confidently encourage people to exercise to achieve these benefits and improve their knee function and quality of life.
If this is you – we can help you get started on an exercise plan to get you healthy, even if you have knee OA.