RSNA 2017: Exercise alone won’t fend off osteoarthritis in knees

Exercise and improvement in eating habits, as two recommendations from a physician, could improve the overall health of most patients. Weight loss is associated with plenty of benefits. But MRI evidence shows how an individual sheds extra pounds can impact the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

In a Nov. 27 presentation at RSNA 2017 in Chicago, Alexandra Gersing, MD, with the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined 760 individuals with a body mass index (BMI) above 25.

The men and women had mild to moderate arthritis or risk factors for the condition, with the group split into 380 in a control group and 380 who lost weight. Those who lost weight were further divided into by the method of losing weight: diet and exercise, just diet or exercise alone.

Patients underwent MRI at the beginning of the study, at 48 months and then at 96 months.

Compared to the control group, cartilage degeneration was significantly lower in those who lost weight through diet and exercise or just diet. MRI of those who lost weight only through exercise showed no significant difference compared to the control group.

“These results add to the hypothesis that solely exercise as a regimen in order to lose weight in overweight and obese adults may not be as beneficial to the knee joint as weight loss regimens involving diet,” Gersing said.