6,000 Steps to Reduce Knee Osteoarthritis

6,000 Steps to Reduce Knee Osteoarthritis. An older couple taking a walk in the park.

Could putting one foot in front of the other ease knee pain? A growing amount of research shows that walking reduces risk of functional limitation associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA). In fact, studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American College of Rheumatology suggest that walking 6,000 or more steps per day may protect those with or at risk of knee OA from developing mobility issues.

A study published in Arthritis & Care Research found that walking 6,000 steps a day (equivalent to 1 hour), may help improve knee arthritis and prevent disability. In the study, nearly 1,800 adults, age 60+, who had or were at risk of OA had their steps counted for over a week using a pedometer.  Researchers reassessed the participants two years later and discovered that for each additional 1,000 steps taken, functional limitations were reduced by 16%-18%.

The study found those who achieved 6,000 were less likely to have problems walking and climbing stairs. Even the participants who didn’t hit the 6,000 step goal showed improvement.

Tip to Get Started:

• Start slow

• Log progress

• Wear a pedometer

•  Find a walking buddy

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White DK, Tudor‐Locke C, Zhang Y, et al. Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee osteoarthritis: an observational study. Arthritis Care & Research. 2014 Sep;66(9):1328-36.