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Daily Walking Does Not Worsen Knee Osteoarthritis

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It´s well established that keeping active is good for your health and your joints, and a new study confirms that taking regular walks does not have a negative impact on knee osteoarthritis.

An international group of researchers, including contributions from the Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit at the University of Manchester, set out to investigate the association between daily walking and knee structural change — defined either as radiographic worsening or as cartilage loss — in people with or at risk of knee osteoarthritis.

The study included 1,179 participants with an average age of 67 years who walked an average of 6,981 steps per day.

The researchers found no significant associations between daily walking and radiographic worsening or cartilage loss. They also noted that more time spent walking at a moderate to vigorous intensity was not associated with either radiographic worsening or cartilage loss.

Reporting their findings in the Journal of Rheumatology, they said that the results “indicated no association between daily walking and structural changes over two years in the knees of people at risk of or with mild knee osteoarthritis.”

A spokesperson for Arthritis Research UK welcomed the study, commenting: “Physical activity is important to keep your muscles and joints strong, supple and most importantly moving. A wide range of exercises have been recommended and shown to be beneficial in reducing overall risk of pain and disability, including walking, swimming, cycling and running. Keeping active also helps to maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce your risk of developing the disease in the first place, as well as relieve existing symptoms and help to prevent further deterioration.

“Although we acknowledge that being active can be difficult for those living with arthritis, we strongly encourage people to ensure that they maintain a good level of physical activity.”