Now here's an interesting study for people with knee arthritis...
* researchers studied 319 subjects that had knee arthritis on x-ray. Only 47% of them had any knee pain (Hannan 2000).
Think about it, this means that out of 319 subjects with knee arthritis, 53% were walking around with NO KNEE PAIN. Apparently it's possible to have knee arthritis and no pain. Apparently you can have worn down knee cartilage and no pain. So how does that work?
Well, the fact of the matter is that the structure of your knee, and how it looks on X-ray and MRI, has little to do with how much pain a person has. Check out this study...
* 154 patients over 45 years of age with knee arthritis, were compared to 49 subjects over 45 years of age that had no knee pain or knee arthritis (Bhattacharyya 2003)
* MRI scans found meniscus tears in 91% of arthritic knees. However, 76% of those people with PAIN-FREE knees also had meniscus tears.
Here we go again. According to this published study, out of the 49 people with NO knee pain, 76% of them had tears in their mensicus (knee cartilage)!
Time to take a different approach to treating knee arthritis. This time, let's stop worrying about structural knee abnormalities- since there are lots of people with no knee pain walking around with them. Instead, let's see what the research has found about how well arthritic knees FUNCTION, like how good their proprioception is...
WHAT THE HECK IS PROPRIOCEPTION?
Pronounced pro-pree-o-ception, all this fourteen-letter word means is the ability you have at any given moment to sense the position and movements of your body. For example, if you close your eyes, you could probably tell me without much difficulty if your elbows are bent or straight, or if your head is turned to the left or right-all without even looking.
To give you more of an idea of just how critical proprioception is, here are a few everyday activities whose success or failure depends on the proper functioning of your sense of proprioception...
* getting something out of your pocket
* walking in the dark
* scratching that hard-to-reach spot on your back
As you can see, all of these activities involve doing something without the help of your vision. By giving your brain constant updates as to the position of your body parts, your proprioception helps you out a lot when you are unable to see exactly what you are doing.
Over the years, researchers have tested the proprioception of people with knee arthritis- and guess what they're finding...
* 77 people with painful knee arthritis were compared to 63 people with no knee pain (Hassan 2001)
* proprioception was tested by moving the leg to a certain angle, holding it there for 5 seconds, returning it to the original position, and then asking subjects to reproduce the test angle. This was done with the subject's eyes closed.
* testing showed that those with painful knee arthritis had significantly reduced proprioception compared to those with no knee pain
This study and others clearly show us that many people with painful knee arthritis have much difficulty sensing the positions and movements of their knees correctly. But can it be restored? Well...
* researchers studied a group of patients with knee arthritis that were 50 to 70 years old (Tsauo 2008)
* patients were randomized into two groups. One group, a training group, did specific proprioception exercises, while a control group did not.
* all subjects had the proprioception sense in their knees tested before and after the study
* after 8-weeks, those that did the proprioception exercises had significantly increased their knee proprioception compared to the control group
Studies conducted like this bring us good news- proprioception sense can be improved in the knees of people with arthritis, in a matter of weeks no less, a finding that has been duplicated over and over (Jan 2009 and Hurley 1998). You can find out more about this proven, evidence-based approach to getting rid of arthritic knee pain in Treat Your Own Knee Arthritis.