Your Knee Pain can Worsen with Advancing Age

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 22, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Knees suffer wear and tear with progressing age.
  • Osteoporosis breaks the knee-protecting bone cartilage.
  • Obesity puts extra weight on knees and causes knee pain.
  • Muscle shrinking leads to decreased bone strength in knees.

Our parents’ generation is getting older heavier which means that over the coming decades, millions of people in the world are likely to develop knee problems as they age.

It has been established by research that knee pain is common in people who are 65 and older. Nearly two-thirds of women aged 50 experienced persistent, incident or intermittent knee pain, says a British study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

And, according to the statistics from a paper in the December 100 Annals of Internal Medicine, about 25 percent of women and 16.5 percent of men over the age of 70 years complain of having knee pain.

Knee Pain in Old Age

Connection between Knee Pain and Advancing Age

Our knees are like any other joint in the body and they fight gravity on a regular basis. With every step that we take, our joints go through wear and tear. With the growing age, we take more steps and hence more, experience wear and tear. And, only a person's age doesn’t play an important role, a lot of other factors affect our chances of experiencing knee pain. Those factors are:


Osteoporosis is no more an old person’s disease. About 14 percent of Americans over the age of 24 years have osteoarthritis. In this type of arthritis, the cartilage that protects the bones in our knees breaks down. This leaves you more vulnerable to knee pain. The number of people with osteoporosis steeply rises to 34 percent after the age of 65 years. Experts have found that, in most cases, knee pain in older people is due to osteoarthritis.


Many people gain weight as they age and the extra kilograms add more weight for your knees to bear. Along with age, being overweight is a leading factor that raises our risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Muscle Changes

Our muscles may shrink up to 40 percent between the ages of 20 and 60. This leads to a decrease in strength. When we walk or do other activities, the muscles in our hips and legs take up some of the force on our legs. Losing our muscle support with age can leave us more vulnerable to knee pain.

Causes of Knee Pain

Keep Knees Healthy even with an Advancing Age

Even people with an advancing age whose friends are developing the problem, can take the following steps to help prevent knee pain. These steps have been proven effective by researchers.

Lose Weight

It was found by a study that the disability decreased in obese people with knee osteoarthritis after they lost 5 percent of their weight over a period of four months.


Land-based exercises, such as strength training or walking have shown strong evidence for knee arthritis. Knee pain was reduced and participants could move around more easily if they regularly exercised. It provided benefits similar to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Last but not the least important point to keep in mind if you're worried about age-related knee pain is that although a sizeable portion of the older population does have knee pain, the majority doesn’t. So if you haven’t developed knee pain with age, take steps to ensure that you stay pain-free.

Image: Getty

Read more articles on Understanding Pain.

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