Take Five: Just A Few Minutes of Brisk Walking Associated with Decreased Risk of TKA

High-intensity walking could lead to a decreased risk of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for osteoarthritis patients, according to recent research. 

For the study, researchers compared different intensities of walking and their impact on total knee arthroplasty risk. Data were found using the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) for patients who did not have TKA. An accelerometer recorded step cadence; intensities were defined as follows: < 1 step/min was considered non-walking, 1-49 steps/min was very-light, 50-100 steps/min was light, and > 100 steps/min was moderate-to-vigorous walking. Researchers measured the impact of replacing not walking time with walking at very-light, light, and moderate-to-vigorous paces over five years. 

Final analysis included 1,854 participants (mean age, 65.0 years; body mass index, 28.4 kg/m2; 55% female) who did not have TKA at baseline and wore the accelerometer for ≥ four days. Over five years, 108 (6%) of individuals received a TKA. Very-light and light intensity walking had no effect on TKA risk, but replacing five minutes of non-walking time with five moderate-to-vigorous intensity walking lowered TKA risk by 16% (hazard ratio [HR] 0.84, 95% CI [0.72, 0.98]). 

Lead study author Hiral Master, PT, a PhD candidate in physical therapy at the University of Delaware in Newark, presented the study’s findings at the 2018 American College of Rheumatology meeting. 

Highlighting the impact TKA has on healthcare costs, Dr. Master said, “There were 450,000 total knee replacements in 2005, and it is projected that there will be 3.4 million in 2030.” 

A little bit could go a long way, according to the study authors, who wrote, “Our findings suggest that small changes in walking behavior could delay the need for TKA in people with or at high risk of knee OA.” 

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Sources: American College of Rheumatology, Medscape Medical News