Why Are Women Over 50 More Likely to Suffer From Knee Pain?

Knee Pain in womenIf you have knee pain, you know how debilitating it can be. And if you’re a woman, you have an even greater chance of developing knee pain after you reach 50. In a recent “Health Minute” spot, CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen spoke with Emory orthopedic physician Dr. Ken Mautner about knee pain in women over 50.

According to Dr. Mautner, knee pain in younger women tends to come from tendonitis or irritation issues around the knee. However, as women age, earlier knee injuries may lead to arthritis. The American College of Rheumatology reports that nearly two-thirds of women ages 50 and older have some degree of knee pain, and that pain is often due to osteoarthritis. And, Dr. Mautner says, women are more at risk for arthritis than men.

“We think that estrogen may have some protective effect on the cartilage of the knee,” Dr. Mautner says. That translates to a greater chance of experiencing knee pain after menopause.

Overuse injuries can cause knee pain, as can weight. If you have knee pain, your first step is to see your primary doctor to start determining the cause. He or she may then send you to a specialist. Treatment options may be as simple as taking acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications or using exercise as medicine, to strengthen the stabilizing muscles around the knee. Physical therapy may also be an option. When working out, avoid high-impact exercises that can further injure the knee. Low-impact exercises, like swimming, are a good alternative.

To watch Cohen’s “Health Minute,” visit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2012/01/26/hm-womens-knees.cnn

Are you over 50 and suffering from knee pain? Would you like to learn more about knee pain treatment at Emory? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

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