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Arthritic knees get hip

Posted by wmagnus On September - 9 - 2009

It’s long been known that exercise improves mobility in people with osteoarthritis, the kind of arthritis that results from wear and tear. Arthritis suffers know that once they get moving in the morning their pain improves and the more they move the less they hurt. What if there were a way to reduce the overall symptoms of arthritis with exercise to the point that arthritis pain overall is reduced?

Turns out researchers at The University of Iowa and Clinics have found exactly that. Publishing their findings in the September 15 edition of Arthritis Care & Research, Neil Segal, MD, MS, and his collegues found that if patients had stronger quadriceps, the muscle on the front of the thigh, they had less risk of symptomatic knee arthritis. The study subjects didn’t have less arthritis but they had less stiffness and pain associated with that arthritis. The strongest patients had the least symptoms despite having xray evidence of arthritis of the knee.

Dr. Segal said in a news release. “These findings suggest that targeted interventions to reduce risk for symptomatic knee OA could be directed toward increasing knee extensor strength.”

The key is picking exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee and promote flexibility without causing injury. Simple, equipment-free exercises include squats and lunges (be sure to use good form). You can add weight such as dumbells as you get stronger. Even without a fancy exercise step or stair-climbing machine, a simple stairway can be a place to work your legs, with bonus cardio-resperatory work. More research stacks up to support old sayings like “move it or lose it” and “motion is lotion.”

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