Osteoarthritis can cause knee pain, but combatting that knee pain may be as easy as walking. The older we get the more it seems our joints start to hurt. All the years of being active finally catch up with us and pain starts to set in. In particular, it seems that our knees take the heaviest hit…
Before you know it, simply going up some stairs becomes a painful experience.
Maybe you take some form of anti-inflammatory or pain-reliever to ease the pain, but those can only last so long. Really, you want to take care of the source of your pain – not just put a Band-Aid solution on it. The best natural and effective means to ease knee osteoarthritis is walking. As new research shows, getting in a minimum of 6,000 steps a day is your key to increasing mobility.
Walking reduces risk of functional limitation in knee osteoarthritis (OA)
Research published in Journal Arthritis Care & Research concluded that walking just 6,000 or more steps daily – that’s about three miles – helps those with knee osteoarthritis pain with their general movements. Using pedometers, researchers tracked the daily steps of 1,788 participants between the ages of 50 and 79 for a total of seven days.
Two years later, they tested participants’ walking speed and collected self-reported data on participants’ ability to perform everyday tasks, such as getting out of a chair, climbing the stairs and performing household duties. Those who walked 6,000 steps or more each day experienced fewer “functional limitations” compared to those who walked far less. And for each 1,000 daily steps participants walked, their limitations declined by as much as 18 percent, researchers found.
Osteoarthritis pain in knees
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), osteoarthritis pain is a degenerative joint disease affecting roughly 27 million Americans. It happens whenever the cartilage that covers your joints breaks down, exposing bones and causing them to come into contact with each other, which results in severe pain.
This kind of joint degeneration may also cause the joint to be become misshapen, which brings about a limited range of motion, and even greater pain.
Benefits of walking for osteoarthritis
In the past, experts recommended that people with knee osteoarthritis pain take it easy in order to avoid placing further stress on their achy joints. But thanks to this latest study, it’s quite clear that movement, especially walking, is the best remedy for osteoarthritis pain. The best part about it is that you don’t need to go from zero steps to 6,000 to reap benefits of walking.
In fact, if you have mild to moderate knee pain, simply start with just 3,000 steps every day. Make an effort to do it on those days when you have little or no pain, gradually increasing your steps from there and trying activities like yoga, swimming and strength training. They’re also effective at getting your heart rate up without putting more strain on your joints.
Of course, regardless of these steps, people who do the same motions over and over while working and playing sports have a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis pain. So even if you’re not a construction worker, professional athlete or a ballet dancer, try to regularly switch up your routine, varying your movements as much as possible while still practicing proper form.
Remember: Although factors like age, gender and genetics can determine whether or not you develop osteoarthritis pain, you can still make simple changes to your diet and exercise routine to lower your risk.
You might experience a little bit of pain at first. But if you keep up with the walking, especially, that will help alleviate your pain in the long run.