Many people at risk for knee osteoarthritis may want to start tracking their daily steps.
A new study found that walking reduces the risk of functional limitation associated with knee osteoarthritis – also known as OA. In fact, the study suggests that walking 6,000 or more steps per day may protect those with or at risk of knee of OA from developing mobility issues, such as difficulty getting up from a chair and climbing stairs. The study was published in the American College of Rheumatology journal, Arthritis Care & Research.
Nearly 27 million Americans age 25 and older are diagnosed with OA, according to a prevalence study by Lawrence et al. Previous research reports that knee OA is the leading cause of functional limitation among older adults, making walking and climbing stairs difficult. About 80 percent of OA patients have some limitation in movement, with 11 percent of adults with knee OA needing assistance with personal care assistance, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
While walking is a common daily physical activity for older adults, medical evidence reports that two-thirds of U.S. adults with arthritis walk less than 90 minutes each week.
“Our study examines if more walking equates with better functioning, and if so, how much daily walking is needed to minimize risk of developing problems with mobility in people with knee OA,” said Dr. Daniel White, PT, ScD, from Sargent College at Boston University.
For their study, researchers measured daily steps taken by 1,788 people with or at risk for knee OA. They were all part of the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study. Walking was measured with a monitor over seven days and functional limitation evaluated two years later.
Walking an additional 1,000 steps each was associated with between a 16 percent to 18 percent reduction in incident functional limitation two years later. Walking less than 6,000 steps daily was the best threshold for identifying those who developed functional limitation.
“Walking is an inexpensive activity and despite the common popular goal of walking 10,000 steps per day, our study finds only 6,000 steps are necessary to realize benefits.” White said. “We encourage those with or at risk of knee OA to walk at least 3,000 or more steps each day, and ultimately progress to 6,000 steps daily to minimize the risk of developing difficulty with mobility.”
Source: news release Arthritis Care & Research
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