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Medical Daily
Medical Daily
Suneeta Sunny

Study Identifies Exercise That Could Reduce Knee Pain, Risk Of Osteoarthritis

People who biked were 21% less likely to develop arthritis with symptoms of joint pain. (Credit: image by senivpetro on Freepik)

For those struggling with knee pain and at increased risk of osteoarthritis, researchers have come up with some positive news. A recent study has identified an ideal exercise to reduce the likelihood of arthritis and ease the symptoms of knee pain.

Arthritis patients are often advised to keep their joints moving. According to the study published in the American College of Sports Medicine's peer-reviewed journal, regular bicycling could reduce the chances of frequent knee pain, radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA), and symptomatic radiographic osteoarthritis (SOA).

Researchers analyzed the lifetime exercise habits of 2,600 people with an average age of 64. During the survey, the participants were asked to report the type of physical activity they did during four periods of their lives: between 12 to 18, from 19 to 34, between 35 and 49, and after the age of 50. The researchers also noted how often the participants cycled during each period.

The participants were all at elevated risk of developing knee arthritis due to factors such as body weight, family history, or previous injuries. The researchers took X-ray images to evaluate signs of arthritis in their knee joints.

The study revealed that more than 50% had biked consistently at some point in their lives. People who biked were 21% less likely to develop arthritis with symptoms of joint pain.

"People who participated in bicycling had a lower prevalence of frequent knee pain, ROA, and SOA. The benefit appeared cumulative. This study indicates that bicycling may be favorable to knee health and should be encouraged," the researchers wrote.

"Based on our observational study, bicycling over a lifetime is associated with better knee health, including less knee pain and less damage to the joint. The more periods of time in life a person spent bicycling, the less likely she or he had knee pain and signs of osteoarthritis," said the study's lead author, Dr. Grace Lo.

"Cycling is very low impact. What it does is help to circulate the synovial fluid throughout the joint to help to kind of lubricate [the joint] and provide nutrient delivery to the cartilage," explained co-author of the study Matt Harkey from Michigan State University.

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