According to new research, the incidence of knee osteoarthritis has doubled over the last 50 years. Based on this information, experts have determined that this condition, which often leads to knee replacement, may be more preventable than once thought.
During this study, researchers examined thousands of skeletons from different periods looking for signs of knee osteoarthritis. They found signs of advanced knee osteoarthritis in approximately 6 percent of skeletons from the pre-industrial period and 18 percent of skeletons from the post-industrial period. Regression analysis showed that the increase could not be blamed on obesity or aging.
Prior to the completion of this research, the medical community believed that osteoarthritis in the knee was becoming more common primarily because of increases in obesity rates, as well as the lengthening of the human lifespan. However, this research determined that the increase in the incidence of knee osteoarthritis could not be explained by these two issues alone. It was also believed that osteoarthritis was unavoidable for many patients, but this evidence indicates that patients may be able to reduce their risk of this condition by changing certain lifestyle factors.
What Does It Mean?
Researchers maintain that aging and obesity still play a significant role in the development of knee arthritis. As an individual ages, the knee joint begins to deteriorate. In addition, because the knee is a weight-bearing joint, being overweight or obese puts considerable strain on the knee. However, other factors are clearly contributing to the condition as well. Some possibilities include a lack of physical activity, inflammation and injuries to the knee.
Further research will be required to determine the exact causes of the increase in knee arthritis. However, in order to reduce the chances of developing osteoarthritis of the knee in the meantime, people are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight, be as active as possible and avoid injuring the knee.
If you have already developed knee osteoarthritis or other knee conditions, you may need treatment. Please contact Southeast Orthopedic Specialists today to learn more.Return to Blog