Why Knee Pain Worsens With Age
America's Baby Boomers are getting older and heavier — which means that over the next coming years, a lot of Americans are likely to develop knee problems as they age.
Researchers around the world have found that knee pain is common in people who are 65 and older. A recent British study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism found that nearly two-thirds of women aged 50 and over experienced persistent, incident, or intermittent knee pain. And in the United States, about 25 percent of women and 16.5 percent of men over age 70 report having knee pain, according to a paper in the December 2011 Annals of Internal Medicine.
Knee Pain and Advancing Age: Why? What is The Connection?
Certain factors that can go hand-in-hand with aging may increase your chances of knee pain:
Osteoarthritis According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 14 percent of Americans over the age of 24 have osteoarthritis. This is a common type of arthritis in which the cartilage that protects the bones in your knees breaks down, leaving you more vulnerable to knee pain. After the age of 65, that number rises steeply to nearly 34 percent. Experts have found that, in most cases, knee pain in older people is due to osteoarthritis.
Definition from Wikipedia: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of joint disease that results from breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. Usually the symptoms progress slowly over years. Initially they may only occur after exercise, but can become constant over time. Other symptoms may include joint swelling, and decreased range of motion.
Osteoarthritis is believed to be caused by mechanical stress on the joint and low grade inflammatory processes. It develops as cartilage is lost and the underlying bone becomes affected. As pain may make it difficult to exercise, muscle loss may occur. Diagnosis is typically based on signs and symptoms, with medical imaging and other tests used to support or rule out other problems.
If you gain weight as you age, as many people do, those extra pounds add up to more load that your knees have to bear. Your knees feel the effects of the extra wear and tear from carrying any extra weight. Along with age, being overweight is a leading factor that raises your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Between the ages of 20 and 60, your muscles may shrink in size by roughly 40 percent. As a result, you lose strength. The muscles in your hips and legs take up some of the force on your legs that results from walking and doing other activities. Losing this muscular support as you age leaves you more vulnerable to knee pain.
If you have Knee Pain and are older, what can you do?
Stay Strong and Healthy
Even if you're at an age when more and more of your friends are developing the problem, research has shown that you can help prevent knee pain by taking the following steps:
Lose weight - In one study, authors found that overweight people with knee osteoarthritis enjoyed decreased disability after losing 5 percent of their weight — just nine pounds if you weigh 180 pounds — over a period of four months.
Exercise more - here is strong evidence supporting land-based exercises, such as strength training or walking, for knee osteoarthritis. According to a recent study, exercise reduced knee pain and helped participants move around more easily. It, provided benefits similar to those from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
And here's one final important point to keep in mind if you're worried about age-related knee pain: Although a sizeable portion of the older population does have knee pain, the majority doesn’t. So if you haven’t developed knee pain with age, take steps to ensure that you stay pain-free and arthritis free.
If you are experiencing pain in one or both of your knees, our medical staff understands regenerative medicine and can design a minimally invasive protocol to address your knee pain symptoms specifically. We want to help you avoid surgery and reduce your dependence on pain medication.
Our pain management center in St Petersburg focuses on delivering personalized regenerative treatments tailored to your unique symptoms and condition. So, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.
If you do have knee pain or questions about how to prevent knee pain, call us (727) 550-0635