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6,000-Year-Old Knee Joints Suggest Osteoarthritis Isn't Just Wear And Tear

6,000-Year-Old Knee Joints Suggest Osteoarthritis Isn't Just Wear And Tear

A new study from Harvard University which looked at more than 2,000 skeletons from cadaveric and archaeological collections across the United States, is the first to definitively show that knee osteoarthritis prevalence has dramatically increased in recent decades. The prevalence of knee arthritis among people in the United States has doubled since the start of World War II. This may seem counter-intuitive to what most people might think about knee problem but actually makes sense physiologically.

All joints in the body must move to stay healthy. If a joint does not move, whether from inactivity, injury or mechanics, it will break down. That is an important rationale for spinal adjusting. The knee is in a category called synovial joints. These are joints that have something called synovial fluid, which is the substance that provides lubrication and nutrition necessary for joint health. Active and passive motion of the knee joint is essential for movement of synovial into and out of the joint. Activity and exercise from an early age is essential to maintain strength and stability of the knee joint throughout our lifetime.

One modern bad habit that may be partly to blame is inactivity. Because we spend more time sitting and looking at screens, from smartphones to TVs, our leg muscles and cartilage might be weaker, causing our joints to break down faster. Lack of activity and exercise causes weakness in the muscles that are essential to joint stability and disrupts the flow of vital nutrients from the synovial fluid.

Daniel Lieberman, the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences and senior author of the study, stated "If I were a betting man, I would guess physical activity is especially important. One of the things that's really shifted in our world today is that we sit all the time, and kids sit all the time. And that may be affecting how our joints are forming and how our joints are aging."

So, lets all get up right now and move around and get that synovial fluid moving before it is too late!

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