Latest research shows that the number of people with knee osteoarthritis has doubled in the last sixty years. You might think this is because we tend to live longer nowadays, and osteoarthritis is a “disease of aging”. The researchers at Harvard University have shown this isn’t the case.
Dr Wallace from Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology examined more than 2000 skeletons. He studied modern ones along with skeletons from earlier post-industrial times, pre-industrial and prehistoric times. Age and obesity are both risk factors for osteoarthritis. But, when Dr Wallace accounted for these factors, there was still a greater level of knee osteoarthritis in the modern-day skeletons.
He thinks the best explanation for this is to do with the decline in modern day levels of physical activity. This is good news! It means knee osteoarthritis is probably more preventable than we previously thought. We already know that staying active helps limit the effects of osteoarthritis once it has developed. This now shows how looking after ourselves by keeping fit and active can help prevent osteoarthritis developing in the first place.
So, keep active! Use the stairs. Walk regularly. Go biking or swimming. Call it knee insurance.