Our patients often inquire about what they can do to prevent their arthritis from getting worse with age and specifically how to prevent functional loss associated with arthritis: such as difficulty with walking, difficulty with stair climbing and difficulty with standing up from a chair.
A recent study partially sponsored by National Institute of Health demonstrated that walking 6000 steps per day can prevent you from developing functional limitations due to knee arthritis. In this study 1788 people with an average age of 67 who have or are at risk of osteoarthritis were looked at how much daily walking is needed to prevent an onset of functional limitations. These subjects were examined again two years and it was determined that walking for 6000 steps per day, prevented progression of functional limitations due to their arthritis. It can be said from this study, that walking for 6000 steps per day prevented these subjects’ arthritis from getting worse.
Before you start a walking program there are two important factors to consider: Type of shoe and walking surface. These are very important considerations since picking the wrong shoe and walking on the wrong type of surface can eliminate the benefits of walking and can speed up the onset of knee pain.
Patients who have been told that they have flat or pronated feet tend to have an arch that flattens when the foot hits the ground and their feet are too flexible. These patients will require a sneaker that is more rigid with a good arch support.
Patients who have been told that they have high arched feet or supinated feet tend to have feet that are too rigid and do not provide sufficient shock absorption when the foot hits the ground. Due to the lack of shock absorption the stress is being sent up the chain to patient’s knees, hips and spine. These patients will benefit from gel insoles for additional shock absorption. Most drug stores carry Dr. Scholl’s brand gel insoles.
Those with knee pain from arthritis should take caution when running or walking on hard surface, such as paved streets. A much better alternative is walking on a treadmill or walking on a rubber running track.
Finally, pick up a little gadget called pedometer and start working on your 6000 steps per day to slow down arthritis today!