Cycling could reduce the risk of knee pain and osteoarthritis in later life, study finds

Those who cycled over a lifetime were less likely to develop knee problems when over 60, according to the findings

Clock03:43, Friday 24th May 2024
The more people cycle throughout their lives, the less likely they are to develop knee pain in later life, study finds

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The more people cycle throughout their lives, the less likely they are to develop knee pain in later life, study finds

A new study suggests that you’re less likely to develop knee pain or osteoarthritis later in life if you’re a cyclist.

According to the study, published earlier this year in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, people who cycled at some point are 17% less likely to suffer from knee pain and 21% less likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knee joint, which is one of the most common forms of arthritis, compared to those who didn't cycle.

As a part of the study, the researchers surveyed 2607 participants to find out how often they had cycled throughout certain periods of their life, including between the ages of 12 to 18, 19 to 34, 35 to 49, and then when they were over 50. 44% of the participants were male and the mean age was 64.3 years.

This data was then compared to symptoms of knee pain and osteoarthritis, to see if there was a correlation with cycling, which there proved to be.

“People who participated in bicycling had a lower prevalence of frequent knee pain, ROA (radiographic osteoarthritis), and SOA (symptomatic radiographic osteoarthritis),” the study found.

The researchers say that the findings point to a “cumulative” or “dose-response”, whereby those who had cycled throughout more periods of their lives had a lower chance of suffering from knee pain or arthritis.

“Based on our observational study, bicycling over a lifetime is associated with better knee health, including less knee pain and less damage to the joint,” Dr. Grace Lo, the study’s lead author, told NBC news. “The more periods of time in life a person spent bicycling, the less likely she or he had knee pain and signs of osteoarthritis.”

Despite the findings, there is often a misconception that cycling causes knee pain, but any instances of cycling-related knee pain are usually linked to a poor bike fit or overtraining. Some of the leading causes include incorrect saddle height or poorly set up pedals or cleats.

We have a guide to solving cycling-related knee pain here.

Keep up to date with the latest cycling news on the GCN website.

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