Monday, October 01, 2007

Exercise that is good for the heart is not detrimental to the knee joint.
---Flavia M. Cicuttini, PhD and colleagues*

Well that's good news. I was just debating tonight whether to take my right knee to step aerobics tomorrow or not. One deep knee bend over the sprinkler system three weeks ago left me with screaming pain from the lateral meniscus. It's much better now--who knows why--and I wondered if it was sheer folly to step out to a little music much needed by me for the heart and the soul.

Dr. Cicuttini et al studied nearly 300 adults over 10+ years. At study's end, their knees were, on average, 58 years old. The investigators correlated their activity logs with the amount of cartilage still clinging to the top of their tibiae on the bottom of their knee joints. Those who particpated in more frequent vigorous exercise in the years prior to the study had a significantly larger chunk of residual cartilage compared with those who sat out the decade on the couch. And the best predictor of defect-free cartilage was each individual's current participation in vigorous exercise.
*Racunica TL, et al "Effect of Physical Activity on Articular Knee Joint Structures in Community-Based Adults" Arthritis Rheum 2007; 57: 1261-1268.


Jean said...

Ouch - knees seemed to have been poorly designed - I tore cartilage years ago trying to keep up with our sons on the mountain! Still feel it was best to have kept active and had all the fun - and from the sounds of the study, I chose correctly:)

Mauigirl said...

My cartilage is probably nearly gone by now. Can taking up exercise later in life bring it back?

Ruth said...

My knees act up from time to time with pain and inflammation. If I faithfully take the stairs at work, I have fewer problems with my joints. Go for the class carefully. I find that strengthening the medial quads can help a lateral compartment problem. Step aerobics incorporate vastus medialis nicely in the side step variations.

janeywan said...

Lordy, hope your better soon. My knees have been shot since I was twenty something.

I could have used a hand on Sunday. One connected to a brain. lol

Dr. Smak said...

Great. Yet another reason to exercise. Like there weren't enough already.

Femail doc said...

Hi all, the class went fine except I'd lost my previous level of aerobic fitness while out dealing with aging moms and knees.

J: Fun on the mtns. is good for the soul AND the knees. MG: No reviving lost cartilage, but taking up exercise that strengthens quads improves knee alignment and slows progress of arthritis.

R: Thanks for that tip on vastus medialis. I found during class if I'd just touch that area, it reminded me to engage that muscle. Any tips for home exercises to build that hummer up?

JW: I think that my brain has disconnected from my willing hands. Went yesterday to my mom's house with sole intention of picking up bills to pay. Got home with a couple of books to read in hand, but no bills; they sit safely--but unpaid--on her kitchen counter.