Joint Alignment Could Be Causing Your Arthritis Pain

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Arthritic pain can flare up in your knees if you are over the age of 50. If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, you may be tempted not to exercise, even though it is very important to encourage a range of movement so that your knees do not completely stiffen and seize up. Painful symptoms may be keeping you immobile and this can significantly affect the quality of your life.

Having arthritis in your knees may seem like a challenging condition to deal with. After all — what can you do to help when you are dealing with a condition in which the cartilage surrounding your knees is becoming increasingly damaged?

Doctors still don’t know exactly what causes this type of arthritis, but they do know that certain things are likely to aggravate it. Doing the same activity over and over again for years can cause chronic joint pain in the knees to develop. So can an injury. Sometimes, doctors believe, arthritis is simply hereditary — if your parents had it, you might develop it, too.

Also Read ==> Pain Behind Knee – Causes and Natural Treatments

But researchers have recently discovered that arthritic knee pain may have its roots in a completely preventable cause: knee alignment.

It seems that people with a particular kind of knee alignment have a greater chance of developing osteoarthritis than do those with other types of leg alignment.

A study was conducted at the National Institute of Health. The research team followed 2,713 volunteers from Birmingham and Iowa City. The participants, from 50 to 79 years of age, had arthritis or were at increased risk of developing the condition because they were overweight, had a previous knee injury or previously had knee surgery.

The researchers took X-rays of each participant’s legs, after first measuring the angle at which the upper and lower leg bones intersected at the knee. Alignment that diverged more than two degrees in either direction from the 180 degrees straight leg alignment was noted. Participants’ knees were X-rayed when they entered the study, and again two and one half years later.

The researchers also examined the X-rays for bone spurs and for thinning of cartilage, which are two telltale signs of arthritis. Using standard measurements, they rated the severity of new or worsening arthritis.

The research team found that knee alignments that diverged more than two degrees were associated with 1.5 times the risk of developing arthritis compared with a straight-leg stance.

The research team noted that when someone walks on a healthy knee, about 70% of the force transmitted to the knee is focused on the inside. A divergent alignment further increases the stress of impact on the inside of the knee. The study found that the highest risk occurred among those with an outward-facing alignment — knees relatively far apart and ankles closer together (known as “varus alignment”). This is the type of alignment that resembles bowleggedness, though not as extreme.

The research team concludes that the results suggest the need to design interventions for people with varus alignment, in hopes of helping to prevent knee arthritis before it develops.

If you’ve never paid much attention to your knee alignment, have it checked. You might benefit from wearing some good quality insoles that help to redirect excess stress and weight off your knees.