Walking helps with pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis

08 Sep 2022
Walking helps with pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis

In patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), walking as a form of exercise may prevent the development of knee pain, a study has found.

Researchers looked at a nested cohort of participants aged 50 years within the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a community-based observational study. They assessed four dichotomous outcomes from baseline to the 48-month visit, involving determination of the frequency of knee pain and radiographic severity of knee OA on posteroanterior semi-flexed knee radiographs.

At the 96-month visit, the participants completed a modified version of the Historical Physical Activity Survey Instrument to identify which engaged in walking for exercise after the age of 50. The study outcomes were new frequent knee pain, worsening of radiographic severity of knee OA based on the Kellgren/Lawrence grade, progression of medial joint space narrowing, and improved frequent knee pain.

A total of 1,212 participants with knee OA were included in the analysis, among whom 45 percent were men and 73 percent reported walking for exercise. Their mean age was 63.2 years, while their mean body mass index was 29.4 kg/m2.

Compared with those who did not practice walking for exercise, participants who did walk for exercise had a lower likelihood of experiencing new frequent knee pain (odds ratio [OR], 0.6, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.4–0.8) and progression of medial joint space narrowing (OR, 0.8, 95 percent CI, 0.6–1.0).

The present data reinforce that walking for exercise is beneficial to patients with knee OA. Furthermore, the findings provide a proof of concept that walking for exercise could be disease-modifying, which requires further study.

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