An article from Finland shows that recreational exercisers have a much lower incidence of knee replacements than other people in their society. How can this be when former athletes have the highest rate of knee replacements?

The more years a person exercised, the least likely he was to require a knee replacement. Regular exercise strengthens bones and joints and helps to prevent damage to the joints. However, athletic competition requires a person to compete on preset days, whether he is injured or not. Competition requires year-round training and athletes hate to take days off. So often they train and compete injured. It is amazing how many coaches preach mental toughness and the ability to exercise through pain, when this kind of thinking usually results in catastrophic injuries that damage million dollar athletes permanently. So when a pain worsens as you exercise, go home so you can exercise again later.

Physical exercise and risk of severe knee osteoarthritis requiring arthroplasty. P Manninen, H Riihimaki, M Heliovaara, O Suomalainen. Rheumatology, 2001, Vol 40, Iss 4, pp 432-437. Manninen P, Univ Kuopio, Dept Publ Hlth & Gen Practice, POB 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, FINLAND

Checked 9/3/05

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