Studies have shown that racial minorities in the United States undergo fewer total knee replacements (TKR) for knee osteoarthritis (OA) than whites do, but the reasons for this are unclear. A new study sheds light on why fewer black Americans tend to have the surgery – and at what cost. It found that African-Americans are offered the option of TKR in fewer cases than whites are, they accept the option less frequently, and when they do undergo the procedure, they have higher rates of complications. Because of these factors, they lose a large number of what’s called “quality-adjusted life years” or QALYs.
People with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) use oral pain medications more often than nondrug pain treatments, such as physical therapy, knee joint injections and topical creams, according to an analysis of three clinical trials. That’s in spite of guidelines that recommend trying nondrug treatments before medications.
The analysis, which appeared recently in Arthritis Care & Research, looked at trials conducted by researchers at Duke University, the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in North Carolina. A total of nearly 1,200 patients ages 61 to 65 participated in the three studies. All participants had knee or hip OA, and most were overweight and treated by a primary care doctor. None got the minimum 150 minutes of physical activity a week recommended for good health.
A team of researchers from the United States and Finland has found that rates of knee osteoarthritis (OA) are higher now than in the past – probably not for the reasons you think.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that knee OA is more than twice as common today, in the post-industrial era, as it was at any time before, going back to prehistoric days. People in the 21st century are also more likely to have arthritis in both knees than were people in the past.
Experts have long recommended tai chi as a low-impact workout that’s gentle on the joints. Research published in 2016 in Annals of Internal Medicine revealed additional benefits: It may be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Chondroitin sulfate improves osteoarthritis (OA) knee pain and functional limitations in walking and daily activities as effectively as the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex), according to a new study published recently in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. But U.S. readers should know, there’s a catch: the researchers tested a version of chondroitin sulfate that is not available in this country.
Losing excess weight may help preserve knee cartilage in people who have or are at risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), whose findings were recently published online in the journal Radiology. Knee cartilage is the rubbery, slick cap that covers the ends of the upper (femur) and lower (tibia) leg bones that make up the knee joint.
Their study also found that shedding extra pounds protected the menisci, the crescent-shaped cartilage pads that cushion the knee joint. Lead author Alexandra Gersing, MD, a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF School of Medicine, says this is especially important because a torn or damaged meniscus can speed up the degeneration of the knee joint overall.
Continue reading Study Confirms That Losing Weight May Save Your Knees
A diet high in fat, especially saturated fat, may speed up the progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA), whereas eating greater amounts unsaturated fat might slow it down, according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Their study, published recently in Arthritis Care & Research, is one of the first to look at the effect of diet on the rate of OA progression. The researchers say they undertook the study because diet plays a role in the development of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, and they suspected it might also be involved in osteoarthritis.
Continue reading A Diet of Bad Fats May Hasten Knee OA Progression
A relatively new treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA) appears to reduce pain better than traditional corticosteroid injections, according to a study published recently in International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
Continue reading New Pain Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis Targets Nerves
For some people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), hyaluronic acid (HA) injections can relieve pain and improve function – sometimes dramatically. During the procedure, hyaluronic acid– a substance similar to the naturally occurring gel-like lubricant that is found in the synovial fluid surrounding joints – is injected into the knee. Because people with OA have a lower than normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints, the theory is that adding the lubricant to the arthritic joint will reduce pain and help with movement.
But HA injections, also called viscosupplements, don’t work for everyone: Studies have shown that between 30 and 40 percent of patients who are given HA shots for knee OA don’t experience a reduction in pain or an improvement in function. And studies have not provided any insight into which patients are most or least likely to benefit from them.
Continue reading Study Supports Hyaluronic Acid Shots for Knee Osteoarthritis in Certain Patients
Knee osteoarthritis doesn’t have to stop you from running—when done carefully, it can actually reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Many people mistakenly believe that running causes knee osteoarthritis—however, doctors now know this is not true. Researchers who compared long-term effects of walking, running and other strenuous forms of exercise found that running significantly decreased the risk of hip and knee replacement, while other forms of exercise increased it. Another long-term study of runners versus non-runners showed that the runners did not have a higher incidence of knee osteoarthritis than the non-runners.
Continue reading Running with Knee Osteoarthritis