Knee Arthritis and Exercise

Knee arthritis and exercise research was done at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia to determine whether exertion prescribed for heart patients was in fact aggravating their joints.

In more general terms, does the movement exacerbate the cartilage and the degenerative pain in our joints? Can keeping fit actually lessen the stiffness or does it only affect the pain of wear and tear?

I think you will agree, these are important questions. If you have painful joints, should you be exercising more, or less?

The participants

A group of people exercising next to a canal.

Three hundred healthy adults aged fifty to eighty with no history of knee injury or disease were recruited from an existing study on healthy aging.

MRI's were done on their knees to determine cartilage defects and thickness; and general wear and tear. The patients were followed for fifteen years when new scans were made.

Tibial knee cartilage volume actually increased with the frequency and duration of vigorous activity.

Moreover, vigorous weight bearing activity not only increased the tibial cartilage volume and was also inversely associated with defects.

In short, more weight bearing activity resulted in less cartilage defects.

In other words, couch potatoes develop more cartilage defects and it becomes thinner.

Their conclusions were that vigorous physical activity appears to have a beneficial effect on knee articular hyaline cartilage in healthy adults with no history of knee injury or disease. Regular walking reduces the risk of bone marrow lesions in the knee. This study provides further support for a beneficial effect of physical activity for diseases associated with aging and suggests that exercise that is good for the heart is also good for the knees.

Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Oct 15;57(7):1261-8

Knee arthritis and Chiropractic

First and foremost accept that anti inflammatory drugs such as Brufin and aspirin, particularly if taken simulaneously, taken for long periods will lead you down a path of deteriorating general health.

Secondly, that orthopaedics has only seriously invasive medicine to offer: total knee replacement, arthroscopy knee surgery  and questionable micro knee fractures that MAY be of help to the young and very fit athlete, but offer nothing

  • to the patient over 45,
  • those with a cartilage legion over one inch, and
  • the obese

- in short, probably over 90% of those suffering from the pain and disability of knee arthritis.

Consider whether chiropractic may not have more to offer the arthritis pain in knee than conventional medicine. Would you be satisfied with 50% less pain and disability if you could avoid major surgery?

Knee Arthritis and Exercise

Anecdotes have zero scientific value, but never will I forget a patient, a Springbok hockey goalie who went for a total knee replacement, after my Chiropractic treatment provided only about 50% relief of her arthritis pain in knee symptoms. The operation was a great success, and Mrs L could indeed walk a good deal further within a few months, but she had no idea where she was walking.

Two very simple basic knee exercises

Whilst any exercise programme has the potential to aggravate the condition, particularly if incorrectly done, this very simple knee arthritis and exercise programme can barely make the pain worse and, done faithfully have the potential to greatly improved the function of your knee.

Note though, this is not weight bearing exercise.

Ruptured Bakers cyst

Never take more than one painkiller at a time. So called dual anti inflammatory drugs have proved very dangerous.

A example of a baker's cyst.

One potential problem with an overly robust exercise program for arthritic joints, particularly if the terrain is uncertain, or it involves over flexion of the knee, is the development of a Baker's cyst.

A communicating passage develops allowing synovial fluid from within the knee proper to pass into the semimembranosis bursa; a bulge is palpated medial in the popliteal fossa.

Sudden forced hyperflexion of the knee can cause the Baker's cyst to rupture.

It's extremely painful behind the knee, with radiation down into the calf muscle.

Many arthritis sufferers take NSAIDs for relief of pain. Research done in 2008 gives shocking results should you be taking two or more anti inflammatory drugs simultaneously. For example, aspirin and Brufin.

Can this study be projected to other joints, for example those in the low back?

In a study done at the Leiden University Medical Centre, the Netherlands, it was found that function centred training for the low back was more effective than drugs in the treatment of low back pain. Read more … FUNCTION CENTRED TRAINING

Use it, or lose it.


Physical Therapists providing a Chiropractic adjustment?

Many insurance companies now only pay for physical therapists to provide a chiropractic adjustment; that's in the face of powerful research proving that inclusion of DCs to perform their own technique would save them a good deal of money. One has to conclude that political medicine has gone off on another tack to contain our profession.

It's being successful with some doctors of chiropractic quitting. Others become involved in some dodgy practices, like demanding that patients sign up for a whole year of treatment in advance, in order to stay in business.

In recessionary times, the going is tough when the insurance won't pay.

Is the day approaching for a new Wilk versus the AMA and the insurance companies?

The chiropractic profession has tried hard to stay on the moral high ground; those who stoop to unscrupulous practices need to be exposed and disciplined if we are not to stoop to the low blows that medicine has often resorted to contain and eliminate us.

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