By Oliver Eaton, ProHealth Clinic
Knee arthritis accounts for almost half of the recorded cases of osteoarthritis. The Arthritis Research UK charity estimates it will to rise to 5.4 million in 2020 and reach 6.4 million by 2035.
Here are ten things you probably don’t know, but should, about knee arthritis:
When a joint is affected by arthritis it becomes damaged, painful and stiff. This occurs due to the breakdown of cartilage and its inability to repair and regenerate as efficiently as other structures in the body, such as muscle and skin. This inability to repair is as a result of its lack of blood supply. As the cartilage wears down, the gap between the bones narrows, causing the bones to begin to rub and form bony spurs (osteophytes).
We used to believe arthritis was all about genetics, but research is now showing other factors have more of an influence; such as nutrition, lifestyle, body alignment and our environment.
Research by Harvard University and comparing skeletons from the 19th century with those from the 20th century showed that incidences of knee arthritis had doubled in the 20th century group. As the big difference between the two centuries has been the rise of chemicals in our environment, foods and our cosmetics, the hypothesis is that these are the culprits.
Statistics show that knee replacements are considerably less successful than hip replacements and they only last an average of nine years.
Walking is a great way to maintain the health of your knees, hips and ankles – but you must wear the right footwear. And aquatic (water) exercises are also great. The water reduces the pressure on your knees whilst providing the resistance for your muscles to build strength.
Vitamins C and D are known to promote cartilage development and maintain the health of existing cartilage. Vitamin C strengthens cartilage and helps to reduce inflammation, while vitamin D helps prevent cartilage from breaking down.
Omega-3 fatty acids should be an essential part of a diet for a sufferer of knee arthritis as they help to decrease inflammation by suppressing chemicals that break down cartilage.
Ginger, cinnamon and turmeric have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, and can be taken in food or as a supplement to combat knee arthritis.
Antioxidants help to protect the body by destroying free radicals before they cause damage to body tissue such as cartilage in joints. Beta-carotene and bioflavonoids are powerful anti-oxidants.
The majority of x-rays of arthritic knees show only one side of the knee is affected by cartilage wear. This is because poor alignment of the ankles and feet change the angle of the knee, causing an individual to carry their body weight more on to one side of the knee, eventually causing it to wear down. Many studies have shown that wearing supportive shoes and orthotics that keep the foot and ankle in proper alignment can considerably reduce pain and swelling in people suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oliver Eaton is a qualified and registered osteopath, Medical Acupuncturist and Musculoskeletal Injection Therapist. He specialises in the treatment of arthritis and headaches/migraines with patients all over the UK and Europe. Much of Oliver's specialties were learnt through personal experience; suffering from a series of chronic conditions from which he made a full recovery using alternative medicine approaches. This sparked his passion for specialising in the treatment of patients with chronic pain. At 28 years old Oliver is one of the youngest Harley Street clinic owners, achieving results with patients who have previously had no success with some of the top medical consultants in the country.
Exercise and knee arthritis:
Numbers of people with knee arthritis
Food and arthritis