Outward knee alignment increases arthritis risk, finds NIH-funded study. Existing arthritis worsens when poorly aligned joints bear increased stress.
The study authors found that the higher risk occurred among those with an outward-facing alignment—knees relatively far apart and ankles closer together. Known as varus alignment, the knee configuration resembles bowleggedness, but is not as extreme.
Osteoarthritis results from the deterioration of cartilage, the hard, slippery material that cushions the ends of bone at the joints.
The researchers also confirmed earlier findings that for people who have arthritis, varus alignment as well its opposite, the valgus, or inner facing, alignment contribute to worsening of the condition on the side of the knee bearing more stress.
Nancy Shinowara, Ph.D., “Future research may lead to new ways to reduce the stress that the condition places on knees and, in so doing, prevent osteoarthritis or lessen its severity.”
Let’s do an anatomy, physiology and biomechanics review (common sense included) just to make sure everyone understands exactly why posture and alignment are so important.
Your knee is a hing joint made up of 3 bones: femur, tibia and patella (fibula doesn’t play directly into the knee joint). Here’s what it looks like: