Chronic knee pain is a difficult and often frustrating condition that plagues many individuals across North America. It can be caused by arthritis, an old injury, or, in some incidences, it can be hard to explain why it occurs at all. Along with all the challenges associated with the condition, researchers have now pinpointed another problem that chronic knee pain poses — a heightened risk of fractures.
Chronic knee pain can make walking — let alone more physical activities such as jogging, running, or standing for long periods of time — very difficult. Along with the pain and physical challenges that chronic knee pain poses for older sufferers, researchers in a U.K. study have now found that the condition can also result in a higher risk of fractures. This is due to the fact that older people with chronic knee pain tend to experience more severe falls and therefore more injuries that result in fracture due to their condition than do seniors who don’t have chronic knee pain.
The study, which is published in the medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, looked at 6,641 men and women who were 75 years and older for a period of three years. During the study, the researchers found that almost 4,000 participants had experienced a fall. Out of these 4,000 individuals, there were 436 incidences of fractures occurring in areas other than their spines among them.
When reviewing all the information, the researchers noted that both men and women who suffered from chronic knee pain from the onset of the study faced double the possibility of a hip breaking due to their condition than did individuals who didn’t suffer from the condition.
One thing the researchers pointed out was that even though older individuals with chronic knee pain were just as likely to suffer from a fall as individuals who don’t have the condition, it still doesn’t account for why their bone fracture risk increased. They think that it may have something to do with the fact that older people with chronic knee pain tend to experience the kinds of falls that result in damage to their hip bones more.
Individuals with chronic knee pain face a higher risk of hip fracture, as opposed to wrist fracture that happens when one tries to break their fall by using their hands, because knee pain causes a person to fall straight down or on their side, as opposed to forward, thus they land on their hip. Plus, using a walking aid such as a cane to help with easing off the knee pain also increases a sufferer’s chance of falling on their hip as well.
The researchers noted that due to chronic knee pain, sufferers who have this condition should be more aware of the additional risk that they face. If you do suffer from chronic knee pain, talk with your doctor about ways to help ease or deter the problem, or about any solutions that you can utilize so as to help prevent a fall from happening.