Of Cane Use and Osteoarthritis Progression

May 12, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

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Do you suffer from osteoarthritis? Then how sold are you to the idea of using a cane. You know…cane…man’s third foot in old age!

Osteoarthritis is a common joint joint disease and is incurable. It is just managed by some medications, proper diet,  therapy, some alternative treatments and non-straining exercises.

One source of stress on this vulnerable joint compartment is the knee adduction moment, an indication of weight placement while walking. A 20 percent increase in the peak knee adduction moment is associated with a 6-fold or greater increase in the risk of knee OA progression over 6 years.

To reduce knee load, pain and damage in knee OA patients, physicians often prescribe two inexpensive interventions: footwear and cane use. While these simple strategies have the potential to alter the knee adduction moment, there is little research attesting to their specific benefits for knee OA sufferers.

Because osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that mostly affects the knees, a study revealed that using walking cane and shoes may help to relieve the knees from the stress, thereby maybe reducing the risk of progression of osteoarthritis.

To assess the immediate effects of walking shoes and a walking cane on the peak knee adduction moment in people with knee OA, researchers at the University of Melbourne turned to 3-dimensional (3-D) gait analysis.

Their findings strongly support using a cane on a regular basis to reduce the load borne across the knee, while underscoring the urgent need for studies into which aspects of shoe design best support the treatment of knee OA patients.

Shocks! Do I really have to use a walking cane?! I said goodbye to heels since my knees took the toll of my whole life. Or maybe I just go easy on physical activities. Though not so easy because some light movement and exercise will actually do good towards people suffering from osteoarthritis.

Though canes are widely recommended to knee OA patients, this study validates their therapeutic value, at least in the short-term.

“Further studies are required to establish whether knee loading remains lower with ongoing use of a cane,” notes Dr. Hinman, “and whether the reductions in loading translate to a reduced risk of disease progression.”

Additional studies should also focus on men with knee OA, since 90 percent of the participants in this cane trial were women, and examine changes in knee pain, an issue which the team did not address.

Hmmm…there really must really be a lot more women than men, suffering from knee osteoarthritis.

I thought it was crazy giving up even an inch of my heeled pumps, but I couldn’t walk. I had no choice by to resort to comfortable walking footwear.

Heel height, sole thickness, and arch supports may all play a contributing role. “Because it is potentially dangerous as well as impractical to advise patients with knee OA to walk about in bare feet, further research is needed to determine which types of shoes least increase the knee adduction moment or, ideally, reduce it,” Dr. Hinman observes. “The shoe type optimal for knee OA with regard to its effects on symptoms and disease progression must be determined.”

Bottom line, find what’s more comfortable for you. The pain of knee osteoarthritis isn’t a joke, I’m telling you!

Read the full report from Science Daily.

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One Response to “Of Cane Use and Osteoarthritis Progression”
  1. Puduls says:

    Hi, There are many options available for osteoarthritis pain relief today. Systemic enzyme therapy seems to offer an alternative worth trying.

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