Knee Arthritis and walking

Patient

Q: Hello, I have a mild case of arthritis in my left knee. My doctor told me I should bike ride and not walk as exercise. I would like to do both. My question is will walking increase my arthritis. I'm not asking if I will feel pain or inflammation. I'm asking if the act of walking will do damage to my knee and speed up the spread of arthritis. Hope that makes sense. Thanks, Tim

Doctor

A:   Exercise is important for people with arthritis. Keeping your weight down and your muscles strong can help to delay joint replacement and improve your surgical result from joint-replacement surgery. The following are some of the physical activities recommended for persons with arthritis: Pilates, water aerobics, swimming, cycling, weight machines (with proper instruction). Walking is one of the favorite activities of many arthritis patients. While it is not the best workout for those with arthritis, walking for exercise is better than no exercise at all. You could also modify your walking for a better workout, trying interval walks and incorporating your arms. Many people with arthritis can't walk long distances without excruciating pain, but are advised to walk as much as possible because of the health benefits associated with walking. Walking is considered an endurance exercise and helps to strengthen the heart and lungs; walking improves stamina and lessens fatigue; as a weight-bearing exercise, walking strengthens bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis; and most importantly, walking strengthens muscles and improves joint flexibility. With inactivity, joints become stiff and muscles become weak. Walking negates some of the bad effects brought on by inactivity.

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