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A new study from Wake Forest University finds that when it comes to alleviating the pain caused by knee osteoarthritis, combining diet and exercise yields much better results than diet or exercise alone.
"There are other modifiable issues that we know about, such as being overweight or obese that has influenced the acceleration, initiation of osteoarthritis, so we're hoping that people will get the word out that we can modify certain things." said Dr. Elaine Husni who treats knee osteoarthritis at Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers studied nearly 400 people and split them into three groups: diet, exercise, and diet with exercise. They found that after 18 months, average weight loss was greater in the diet with exercise group. When compared to the exercise group, the diet with exercise group had less knee pain, less inflammation, better function, faster walking speed, and better physical health.
"Increasing flexibility and range of motion will decrease your ability to injure yourself and, of course, strengthen your muscles in the area so that you can use your joint better without pain," Husni said.
Researchers say an intensive weight loss and exercise regimen may have both anti-inflammatory and bio-mechanical benefits, especially if a person can safely achieve a significant long-term weight loss.
Husni said it's important to tell your doctor what you're trying to do when it really hurts, so that they can have a tailored plan to treat your knee osteoarthritis.
Complete findings for this study can be found in the "Journal of the American Medical Association."