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Walk Away from Knee Arthritis

If arthritis in your knees is slowing you down, walking more, rather than less, may help keep you on the go. For those that are multitasking, part of the solution may be a pedometer (or cell phone app) that counts your daily steps. When they add up to 6,000, arthritis in the knee begins to improve, and the risk of disability declines, according to a new study from Boston University. Every step you take throughout the day counts toward your 6,000, the study found. Author Daniel White, a research assistant professor in the department of physical therapy and athletic training, says that when most people walk, they average 100 steps per minute, which means that if you were to do your 6,000 steps all at once, you would spend an hour walking. The research included 1,800 adults who had knee arthritis or were at risk of the problem and were already participating in an ongoing osteoarthritis study. White explained that the investigation was aimed at determining the fewest daily steps that would help people with knee arthritis remain mobile. If you're not in good shape, he suggests setting an initial goal of 3,000.

My take? In combination with daily exercise (walking counts), losing at least 10 percent of your weight, if you're overweight, can help go a long way toward relieving the pain of knee arthritis and improving mobility. In addition to weight loss and exercise, I recommend making some specific dietary changes to help reduce the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis. Research has shown that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the spices ginger and turmeric may be especially beneficial. And foods rich in antioxidants - plentifully found in most vegetables and fruit - may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.

Daniel K. White et al, “Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study,” Arthritis Care & Research, doi: 10.1002/acr.22362.

Fishy Approach to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Eating at least one weekly serving of fish seems to help cut the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 35 percent.Eating at least one weekly serving of fish – of any kind – seems to help cut the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 35 percent, and regular long-term (for at least a decade) consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish such as salmon reduces the risk by 50 percent. This finding, from a study at Sweden’s famed Karolinska Institutet, supports the conclusions from an earlier Swedish study showing a 20 percent reduction in the risk of rheumatoid arthritis among both men and women who reported eating at least one serving of fatty fish per month. The researchers reviewed detailed diet questionnaires completed by 32,232 midlife and older Swedish women, 205 of whom were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis over an average of about eight years. The Karolinska team concluded that the lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis seen among participating women seemed to be associated with the omega-3s the women were getting from the fish in their diet. The investigators looked at how often the women reported eating fish, not their use of fish oil supplements. The study was published online on August 12, 2013 by the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

Alicja Wolk, et al "Long-term intake of dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of rheumatoid arthritis: a prospective cohort study of women." Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases   2013 DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203338.