Posts Tagged ‘knees’

Exercise and Knee Replacement

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

It may make common sense that the pain relief gained through knee replacement surgery would instigate more physical exercise and, thereby, better weight control. But that is not what researchers found when they tracked 106 patients for two years following their knee replacements. Instead, 66 percent of the subjects had gained an average of 14 pounds.

The good news is that the other one-third had lost, on average, approximately four pounds. In those who lost weight, no decline in quadriceps strength was seen, whereas the quadriceps had weakened in those who gained weight.

Researchers explained that, after surgery, single knee replacement patients have a tendency to place more weight on the knee that wasn’t replaced. The added load of weight gain can compromise both knees and, in particular, may hasten the progression of osteoarthritis in the non-operated joint.

In summary, knee replacement patients should take care to maintain a healthy body weight. If knee pain persists following the surgery, such patients may wish to consider swimming, pool aerobics or other joint-sparing workouts designed to control weight and promote heart health.

This research was conducted at the University of Delaware. Click here to read the university’s report on the study.

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Knee Replacement Surgery and Balance

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

For elderly patients a knee replacement may do more than reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a study described at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in March. A new knee joint may also improve balance.

The study's subjects were 63 persons, average age 73, who underwent total knee replacements. One year following their surgeries, all of the subjects enjoyed significant improvement regarding measures of balance. "We are learning that pain relief may not be the only benefit that improves function after knee replacement," said the study's lead author Dr. Leonid Kandel, as reported by HealthDay.

Interestingly, researchers found that the relationship between improved balance and the patients' ability to walk and perform ADLs (activities of daily living) was stronger than that between decreased pain and their ability to walk and perform ADLs.

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Exercise and Knee Osteoarthritis

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Muscle activation refers to the level of involvement of the muscle fibers in a skeletal muscle when it is working. Full activation occurs when all of the available fibers are used during a maximum-effort contraction. Many persons with knee osteoarthritis (OA) cannot fully activate their quadriceps (front thigh) muscles, which often are very weak.

A recent study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism addressed the problem. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied 111 subjects (minimum age: 40) with knee OA. Quadriceps strength and quadriceps activation (QA) were measured at baseline and after six weeks of training. The subjects were assigned to one of two specific training programs, both of which included quadriceps strengthening exercises.

After six weeks, strength gains were indeed found among the subjects, but one particular hypothesis of the scientists was not confirmed. They had expected baseline QA to be a strong predictor of which participants would respond best to either exercise plan. Instead, there was a broad range of divergence in strength gains, leading the researchers to conclude that variables other than QA score may be more useful in predicting which patients with knee OA are likely to benefit the most from quadriceps strengthening exercises.

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