Can exercise raise risk of knee osteoarthritis?

New Delhi: Suffering from knee osteoarthritis? Avoid physical activities, such as walking, running, or playing a sport, according to a top neurologist.

Exercise is known to boost health, but it may worsen knee osteoarthritis — a degenerative joint disease characterised by chronic pain and limited joint movement in the knees. It is typically caused by wear and tear and progressive loss of articular cartilage.

Citing a recent study, published in the JAMA Network Open, Sudhir Kumar, from Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, asked people with the condition to avoid weight-bearing physical activities, such as walking, running, or playing a sport.

Instead, he asked them to indulge in “non-weight bearing activities, such as cycling or swimming, as these were not associated with the incidence of knee osteoarthritis”.

For the study, researchers from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands included 5,003 individuals, of which 2,804 were women.

It showed that weight-bearing activities were not associated with knee osteoarthritis in people with intermediate or high lower-limb muscle mass index (LMI).

“People with poor lower limb muscle mass/strength should prefer non-weight-bearing physical activities,” Sudhir said.

“Lower limb muscle strengthening exercises (especially quadriceps) should be prioritised in people engaging in weight-bearing activities. People with good lower limb muscle mass/strength can safely continue with weight-bearing activities without any fear of knee pain or knee osteoarthritis,” he said.

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