Prevention of falls by reducing knee buckling in older adults

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Prevention of falls by reducing knee buckling in older adults

According to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the symptoms of knee fragility may lead to an increased risk of falling and of experiencing the various physical and psychological effects that can occur from falling. Determining effective treatments for knee instability should be the top priority as the proper care of aging patients by the clinicians.

Knee instability is a frequent condition in older individuals which accompany knee buckling or as a knee "giving way,". It is occurs particularly due to knee pain and knee osteoarthritis (OA) causing muscle weakness and balance difficulties. In order to maintain older individuals' health and quality of life, exercises and other interventions that stabilize the knee may aid to avoid frequent falls and fall-related injuries. Hence, Michael Nevitt, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues prospectively studied 1842 participants in the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) to further explore this potential link. The average age of the patients were 67 years old at the start and who had, or were at high risk for, knee osteoarthritis.

About 16.8 percent reported knee buckling at the end of 5 years and 14.1 percent had recurrent (?2) falls at the end of 7 years.1.6- to 2.5-times higher likelihood of recurrent falls, fear of falling was observed after 5 years by Bucklers as well as poor balance confidence at year 7. At the start of the study, those who fell when a knee buckled had a 4.5-times, 2-times, and 3-times higher likelihood 2 years later of recurrent falls, significant fall injuries, and fall injuries that restricted activity, respectively, and they were 4-times more likely to have penurious balance.

Dr. Nevitt said "Falls, injury from falls and poor balance confidence are extremely common and debilitating problems in older people. The present study has demonstrated for the first time that knee instability and knee buckling are important causes of these problems in the very large segment of the older population suffering from knee pain. Fortunately, it may be possible to treat knee instability and prevent knee buckling with targeted exercises. Joint replacement surgery can also improve knee stability." He further added that pain is the predominant symptom of knee osteoarthritis and symptoms of instability such as knee buckling and falls may be overlooked by treating professionals. The most crucial influence of these results on patient care is that health professionals should query their patients with knee OA about instability, buckling, falls and work with them to take preventive actions like proper use of walking aids, leg strengthening and appropriate footwear.

Wiley
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