Squats and Cartilage Loss -or- “Squat Lift Knee Arthritis”

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What is “Squat Lift Knee Arthritis’?  Well, one common gym activity that we see cause injury is the weight lifting squat. Usually, it will cause low back disc injuries, as carrying hundreds of pounds on your back and flexing your spine can be a bad thing (who knew?) This week a paper was published showing a connection between knee bending activities and cartilage loss. The study took 115 middle aged people (45-55 years old) with no knee pain and no obvious evidence of arthritis on x-ray. This was part of the Osteoarthritis Initiative database, so serial MRI studies and extensive questionnaires were available. Those study participants who reported frequent knee bending were about three and a half times more likely to develop a cartilage problem, usually under the knee cap (OR 3.09, 95%CI 1.22-7.79). The increase in risk was higher in subjects involved in more than two knee bending activities. At 3-year follow-up, individuals reporting frequent knee bending were about four times more likely to show progression of cartilage damage (OR 4.12, 95%CI 1.27-13.36) and abnormalities in their meniscus (OR 4.34, 95%CI 1.16-16.32). The upshot? If you have early arthritis, you may do well to avoid activities like squats or knee bending activities!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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