Is Gait Speed a Proxy for Overall Knee Health?

Most patients have not ever considered the rate at which they walk – known in medicine as gait speed – as an indicator of something more serious. After all, some people just walk more slowly than others, especially as their age advances, right?

In fact, diminished gait speed can be a harbinger of ailing health overall, as one recent study reiterated:

[Gait speed] is an important indicator of health, well-being, and mean life span in older adults and is a strong predictor of future disability and mortality.

When that speed declines, especially if it is associated with progressive knee pain or obesity, it can be a pretty clear signal that further trouble is brewing. As this study found:

Frequent [knee pain] alone, obesity alone, and the combination of frequent [knee pain] and obesity were all associated with decreased [gait speed] in older adults. These associations did not change in any of the groups longitudinally; as such, the slopes corresponding to the data remained unchanged.

Although the researchers could not separate which factor led most directly and causally to the issue, the correlation remains strong and worthy of further study. What this means for you is that slowing down with age should be considered something less than inevitable, especially if knee pain is involved.

To get lasting relief of knee pain and learn more about expert knee surgery in San Diego, contact the offices of Dr. William Holland today.

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