Every step you take puts pressure on your knees and joints, so it makes sense that as you get older, that wear and tear takes a toll and you notice more pain. However, certain conditions can increase your knee pain and being aware may help you avoid some of the discomfort.
- Osteoarthritis – Knee pain can be caused by various forms of arthritis, ranging from osteoarthritis to rheumatoid arthritis to gout. However, since OA is the most common form of arthritis, it makes sense to look at it in its own right by reviewing another pool of data – the Framingham Osteoarthritis Study. This study looked at 1420 people who were at least 60 years old. Radiographic OA became more common over time throughout that population, with the incidence level at 33% for those aged 60-70 and 43.7% for those who were at least 80. Since OA is so common among older populations, that also means that knee pain occurs more frequently
- Obesity – As we age, we often gain a few extra pounds. But those pounds can add up quickly and the result is more wear and tear on your knees as they try to bear the load of extra weight. Being overweight also increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
- Muscle Changes –Muscles typically shrink 40% from the age of 20 to 60. That means a loss of strength. The hips and leg muscles incur pressure from the legs that occurs during walking and everyday tasks. Weakness in the muscles means a loss of support of the joints and the development of knee pain.
If you haven’t yet experienced knee pain, there are things you can do to avoid it. Start by losing those extra pounds and exercising more. According to a recent study, exercise provided knee pain benefits similar to those from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Experts recommend strength training and walking. The more you exercise, the more likely you are to lose weight and the less likely you’ll be to experience knee pain.