Does Your Physical Activity Increase the Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis of the knee joint is one of the most common conditions among older adults. The wear and tear type (Knee Osteoarthritis) happens to be the most prevalent among all these arthritis cases. Being a flexible weight bearing joint, Knee is prone to the wear and tear and is more likely to be affected by arthritis.

Knee Osteoarthritis is a common condition in older adults (age 55 and above). This Osteoarthritis sets-in when the cartilage between the joints begins to break down narrowing the bone gap and resulting in the knee pain stiffness and swelling. As we age there is an increased chance of degeneration on the cartilage owing to the continuous mechanical stress put on the knee joint.

So, if you are an older adult who enjoys your physical activity, a question might pop in your mind:

Does my physical activity increase the risk of osteoarthritis?

No, a moderate low impact physical activity up to two and a half hours a week is safe for older adults and is found to show no impact on the risk of knee osteoarthritis.

This, according to a recent medical study published by Kamil Barbour, Ph.D., of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The conclusion was the culmination of analysis of data collected from 1999 to 2010 from 1,522 participants aged 45 years and older. Though biological aging does contribute to the gradual degeneration of cartilage, it was always believed that the continuous mechanical stress on the knee joint over the years contribute to this degeneration making the Knee Osteoarthritis inevitable for older adults. The new medical research though underplays the impact of the mechanical stress and categorizes osteoarthritis as a multivariable condition. Thus, making moderate exercise a non-risk factor of knee osteoarthritis

Say yes to moderate exercise:

Low impact moderate exercise always has been being the most effective, non-drug treatment that is prescribed even for patients with osteoarthritis. Evidently, moderate exercise is all good for everyone irrespective of race, sex or body weight. But that doesn’t mean you can get a game of basketball or go for a quick run. Low impact exercises like walking, cycling or elliptical machine workouts, or brisk walking make good choices to get your legs moving without having to sacrifice the benefits of exercise.

Having said this, it is obvious that your daily activities like household chores, gardening or walking nowhere stand a chance to pose a risk for you. So, you can continue with your daily routine with ease. And if you have been apprehensive all along and want to start engaging in moderate physical activity, go for it and you won’t regret.


Knee Osteoarthritis is quite a common condition among older adults. But given their medical history, every case can be quite unique and demand a special attention from the medical experts.