Updated 01 December 2015

Cyclists risk knee arthritis

Cyclists and people who spend long periods of time in a squatting position may be at greater risk of developing arthritis in their knees, new research shows.


Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage of the joints breaks down, and usually begins after a person reaches middle age. It commonly affects the knees and can be disabling.

How the study was done

To determine whether occupational or leisure-time activities could influence the risk of a person developing the condition, Dr S. Dahaghin of Tehran Medical University in Iran and colleagues compared 480 people with osteoarthritis of the knee and 490 arthritis-free controls.

People who spent more than 30 minutes daily in a squatting position were at 1.5-fold greater risk of knee osteoarthritis, while people who cycled for more than 30 minutes daily were twice as likely to have osteoarthritis in their knees, the researchers found.

People with jobs that required them to bend their knees for more than half an hour daily were about twice as likely to develop knee osteoarthritis, although the findings were of borderline statistical significance.

Housewives were also more likely than women who worked outside the home to develop knee osteoarthritis.

There was no link between playing sports or working in a non-sedentary occupation and knee osteoarthritis.

The findings support the hypothesis that overuse of a joint can influence arthritis risk, the researchers say.

"Education on preventable risk factors should be considered in order to ensure people use knee joints appropriately and avoid overuse," they conclude. – (Reuters Health, October 2009)

Read more:

Running won't raise risk of knee arthritis

How exercise eases knee osteoarthritis


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Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

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