Associated with the deterioration of the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones, osteoarthritis of the knee (gonarthrosis) sometimes causes severe pain, complicating daily life: difficult squat to put on shoes, to take the stairs, to practice a sport and even to walk without triggering discomfort, stiffness, pain.
Restricting one’s activities will only accentuate the problem: maintaining a well-oiled joint and keeping osteoarthritis flare-ups at bay requires, on the contrary, to keep moving, it is even one of the key steps for successful treatment.
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Pay attention to weight … and heredity
The frequency of knee osteoarthritis increases with age: it affects 65% of those over 65 and 80% of those over 80. But age is far from the only factor involved. Gender (women are more affected), being overweight and the intensive practice of certain activities such as football, basketball or skiing, pivot sports causing knee flexion, are also involved. Another important element: the change in weight between the ages of 20 and 60.
According to a study presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology in June 2022, the significant increase in weight in these forty years increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis., said Dr. Augustin Latourte, rheumatologist at the Lariboisière hospital in Paris.
Have your parents suffered from this? Heredity also plays a role. “Some genes are associated with the quality of cartilage, probably making it more vulnerable vis-à-vis minor traumas”, continued Dr. Latourte. There are many reasons to adopt the right reflexes as soon as possible.
First recommendation: move often, as much as possible. “Physical activity is a true protective medicine against joint complications,” said Dr. Christophe Delong, specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation in Paris.
“Movement, practiced with reason, has only advantages: it maintains mobility, the tone of the muscles surrounding the joint, and it activates the cartilage cells necessary for its regeneration.” No activity is off limits, from cycling to swimming, including dancing, strengthening -on the body or running. A recent study proved that running does not affect the cartilage, including the knee.
Another advantage of sports: it promotes weight loss, an aggravating factor in osteoarthritis. “Being overweight increases four to six the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. Conversely, every kilogram lost reduces the pressure on each knee by 4kg”. encouraged Nathalie Negro, dietician-nutritionist who manages the nutrition center at Thermes de Brides-les-Bains, specializing in weight loss.