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Is Walking Good For Osteoarthritis Or Does Walking Worsen It?

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage of a joint is worn away and the joint is inflamed. Symptoms such as pain, swelling, discomfort, and accumulation of water appear, and there are various causes such as aging, overuse of joints, weight burden, and injuries. Diagnosis is made by an X-ray test or blood test. Resting to prevent excessive use of joints, injection of hyaluronic acid, use of braces/canes, etc. are also performed, but if pain or deformity is strong, joint surgery may be performed and an artificial joint may be placed in the knee.(1)

Is Walking Good For Osteoarthritis?

The best way to prevent arthritis is by exercising regularly. Exercise helps relieve muscle stiffness and swelling in joints. Walking is an effective exercise and way to relieve yourself of arthritis and is also the safest choice. Walking also improves circulation, which helps reduce joint pain. Walking may reduce blood pressure and boost fitness and walking ability. It’s important to note that walking does not cause arthritis. You can use walking as an alternative to sitting or standing. You can even try walking with a cane. You can take a stroll around the neighborhood or park while walking.

Walking is great for people with arthritis, but there are other options as well. Light weight-training, water-based training, yoga, Tai Chi, and individual therapy were the most helpful for reducing pain and improving joint function. Swimming or cycling tends to be better tolerated than other exercises among people with arthritis of pelvis or knees. The best way to reduce pain is by using a gentle exercise routine.(3)(4)

Can Walking Make My Arthritis Worse?

It is possible that walking may make things worse if you are suffering from arthritis in your back and hip joints, particularly when walking on hard surfaces. You should consult a specialist to determine whether walking will help you manage pain. This is especially true if your back has been injured or has been affected by arthritis. However, there are some ways to improve your mobility and prevent pain. Ask your doctor about exercises you can do regularly to help relieve pain and stiffness. The best way to reduce pain is by using a cane or walker, but it does not have to be a crutch.

Walk with your hands in front of you while walking, and hold your feet together as you walk. When walking, keep your head down and move slowly through the air to avoid straining your muscles. This will help you feel comfortable and relaxed while walking, which helps to avoid pain. If you are feeling tired, take a break from walking and rest for at least 30 minutes before moving on to another activity. Walking is also great for improving circulation and strengthening bones, which can help prevent joint damage.(4)(5)

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent arthritis form. While it may happen still in young people, the possibility of this condition rises after the age of 45. Over 27 million individuals in the USA are suffering from osteoarthritis; with knee joint being the most commonly affected area. Females are more likely to get osteoarthritis than males. Constant stress on the affected joint causes serious pain. The best treatment is to take medicines that help relieve pain and stiffness.

The symptoms include: Stiffness and pain in the joints swelling of bones or cartilage loss of muscle strength or weakness in the joints pain that occurs when you walk or run difficulty moving your feet feeling tired and unable to move a lot of weight or feel uncomfortable walking without assistance fatigue and soreness in the joints pain that occurs when you walk or run.(2)


  1. Qin J, Barbour KE, Murphy LB, et al. Lifetime risk of symptomatic hand osteoarthritis: the Johnston County osteoarthritis project. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2017;69(6):1204-1212.
  2. Chen D, Shen J, Zhao W, et al. Osteoarthritis: toward a comprehensive understanding of pathological mechanism. Bone research. 2017;5(1):1-13.
  3. Bartels EM, Juhl CB, Christensen R, et al. Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016(3).
  4. Toda N, Matsunaga A, Watanabe H, et al. Walking speed and postural stability after total knee arthroplasty in elderly patients with osteoarthritis. The Kitasato medical journal. 2019;49(1):64-75.
  5. Costello K, Wilson JA, Stanish W, Hubley-Kozey C. Does 30 minutes of continuous walking induce gait pattern changes linked to osteoarthritis progression? Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2017;25:S117-S118.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 1, 2020

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