This study was led by Donna Urquhart, Ph.D., and Flavia Cicuttini, Ph.D., and examined the effects of physical activity on individual parts of the knee. According to Dr. Cicuttini, "Several studies have already examined the impact of physical activity on the knee as a whole, but none have looked at the effect of physical activity on individual parts of the knee.” Dr. Cicuttini is the head of the musculoskeletal unit in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Australia. She points out that exercise, “affects each part of the knee differently, which helps explain why there have been conflicting reports for so long."
This report comprised data from 28 studies, representing 9,737 participants from all parts of the world. All included studies examined the relationship between physical activity and knee osteoarthritis and also included MRI evidence of osteoarthritic knees when investigating disease progression or healthy knees when investigating disease incidence.
So regular exercise can actually be helpful for knees, but even though osteoarthritis can result. Rather than a total knee replacement, orthopedic surgeons can now do partial knee resurfacing. According to Dr. Ira Kirshenbaum, “A knee has 3 separate compartments, and when only one part of the knee is diseased we have the opportunity to just replace that part of the knee; and instead of fully replacing it, I’m able to simply resurface the end of the bone with metal on one side and a high density medical plastic on the other side and leave the rest of the knee completely intact and leave all the ligaments and the rest of the person’s feeling of their knee as if it was their old knee.”