Anyone who has ever had knee pain or an injury to their knee knows just how painful and debilitating it can be. After all, as bad as your wrist, elbow or shoulder might hurt under the same conditions, at least you don’t have to walk on those.
But when it comes to your knees, unless you’re ready to stop moving and give up doing the things you enjoy (like walks on the beach or around the block with your dog), and the things you need to do (like running the vacuum a couple of times a week or driving to work), you just have to accept some level of pain.
But what can make the most difference for you when living with knee osteoarthritis (knee OA), is avoiding the things that make it worse… and doing more of the things that can help.
And now, we know more about what some of those things are. That’s because a new study has shed light on some specific factors that can make living with knee OA worse…
4 factors to keep in mind
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland followed study participants who either already had knee OA or were at high risk for the condition for a full eight years. Over that time, the participants were classified into four groups on the basis of changes occurring in their quality of life during the eight-year follow-up.
- 62.9% of the study participants belonged in the “no change” group that experienced no worsening in their quality of life.
- 17.1% belonged in the “worsened slowly” group.
- 9.5% ended up in the “worsened rapidly” group.
- And a lucky 10.4% were lumped into the “improving” group.
If you had your pick, of course the “improving” or “no change” groups have the most appeal. And, of course (again), the one group no one would want to end up in is the “worsened rapidly” group.
Fortunately, the researchers identified four factors that were associated with a rapidly worsening quality of life that could earn you a spot in that least desirable group. Unfortunately, of those four factors, there is one you have no control over and another one that, at best, is challenging…
The four common denominators that were found to most negatively impact your quality of life living with knee OA, and throw you into the one category you most want to avoid, are:
- Being female
- Having a higher body mass index
- Having a lower income.
Now, those factors may not seem that important to you. After all, two of them might be completely or at least partially out of your control.
Obviously if you’re a woman, that’s not going to change. And your finances might not be an easy fix. However, your body mass index and whether or not you choose to smoke are completely in your hands.
This means that simply by kicking the habit and taking steps to maintain a healthier weight, you could significantly decrease your chances of not only worsening knee OA symptoms, but also your quality of life.
In addition to those steps, there are a few other super easy ways to improve your joint health and win the battle against osteoarthritis…
#1 — Take fish oil
University of Surrey researchers conducted a scientific review of 68 separate studies and came to one universal conclusion…
If you have OA, fish oil can help you feel better thanks to its ability to balance inflammation levels and soothe aches and pains.
According to the scientists, the magic number is at least 1 gram of a superior quality fish oil per day to experience the benefits.
#2 — Get more K
Vitamin K plays a vital role in the health of your cartilage and bones so make sure you’re getting enough of the often-overlooked vitamin in your daily diet.
Good sources of K include kale, spinach and parsley.
#3 — Change your diet
Certain foods can increase the inflammation levels throughout your body, including your joints, as well as the amount of pain you feel, while others naturally combat the problem.
Foods to eliminate from your diet include:
Sugary food and drinks, like sodas, juice and sweets
Saturated fats such as pizza and red meat
Refined carbohydrates like white breads and rice
Instead, eat more good oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil and avocadoes, dark green leafy vegetables, garlic, nuts and oily fish.
Now you know what can make your osteoarthritis worse and you’re also armed with ways to improve your issues so that you can stay active and live the life you want. So, don’t wait. Use the steps above starting now to win the battle against stiff, achy, painful joints.