Stronger Quads Protect Against Knee Osteoarthritis
Reported November 16, 2006
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A few more squats and lunges at the gym could keep your knees in tip top shape.
A new study suggests stronger quadriceps muscles — leg muscles in the upper thigh — can help protect against the cartilage loss behind the kneecap which could eventually lead to knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Boston University, and the University of California, San Francisco studied 265 men and women with knee OA. Participants had magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of their knee joints at the beginning of the study, at 15 months, and at 30 months. The MRI results showed how much cartilage loss there was over time at the two joints of the knee — the tibiofemoral joint, where the thighbone (femur) meets the lower leg bone (tibia); and the patellofemoral joint behind the kneecap (patella).
Researchers also measured the strength of the participants quadriceps muscles at the beginning of the study. Those who had stronger quadriceps had less cartilage loss in the patellofemoral joint, which is frequently affected by OA.
“A stronger quadriceps muscle helps keep the patella from moving laterally and tracking abnormally with movement,” reports lead researcher Shreyasee Amin, M.D., a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist. “Our study results emphasize that its important to encourage people with knee osteoarthritis to maintain strong quadriceps muscles as recommended by their physician.”
Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the knee joint deteriorates over time. As this cushion wears down the joint does not function as well and can cause pain that varies from a mild inconvenience to a debilitating condition.
SOURCE: American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10-15, 2006