October 30, 2023 · 12:44 PM
Radical new information on osteoarthritis from Paul Ingraham:
One of the most deeply held beliefs in musculoskeletal medicine is that osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” condition — that joints slowly crumble under the onslaught of gravity and use and abuse. This fundamentally mechanical view of arthritis directly suggests that the heavier we are, the more likely we are to have trouble in our load-bearing joints.
But that’s just not the case: osteoarthritis prevalence doubled in the 20th Century independent of age and weight (Wallace 2017).
So something else has to be going on. People got heavier on average, but not twice as heavy!
Or consider this: obese people get more osteoarthritis of the hand (Jiang 2016), but probably not because they are walking on their hands.
So … why?
This post weaves together the threads of several past posts about the biochemical foundations of seemingly “mechanical” problems, and you may recognize some pieces. But this is an all-new synthesis, anchored by some good science news you can use — practical and encouraging, which is a rare pleasure.
It’s a short read, well worth your time.
Steve Parker, M.D.