OA risk not increased by exercise

Advising older patients to exercise does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, according to US research.

The findings come from a study of 1,279 participants aged 29-78 years questioned about physical activity and knee symptoms such as pain, aching and stiffness. 

Participants were weighed and underwent knee X-rays for signs of cartilage loss.

An average of nine years later, they were assessed again for symptoms and radiographic signs of OA, as well as weight. 

Of the knees showing risk of OA on X-ray at baseline, 9.5 per cent developed incident disease by follow-up. Of those showing symptomatic risk, 7.2 per cent developed OA.

But recreational walking, jogging or other self-reported activity had no effect. 

This remained the case regardless of the level of physical activity undertaken, even in overweight individuals at increased risk.

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