Strengthen thigh muscles to avoid knee replacement surgery

DOING SQUATS AND LUNGES may help you avoid future knee surgery. Having stronger quadriceps relative to the hamstrings may lower the risk of total knee replacement, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of Radiological Society of North America.

Globally, more than 30 crore adults suffer from knee arthritis, and a vast majority of them will eventually require knee replacement surgery.

Quadriceps and hamstrings, two important muscle groups on the front and back of the thigh, are extremely important for gait and any physical activity.

“The two muscle groups act as counter forces, and the balance between them enables a wide range of activities while protecting the knee joint,” the study lead author said. “An imbalance, in addition to other factors, leads to a change in the biomechanics, resulting in the progression of osteoarthritis.”

For the study, the researchers compared the thigh muscles of 67 patients who underwent total replacement of a single knee with another 67 adults who did not have a knee replacement, all matched for variables including age and gender.

A higher ratio of quadriceps to hamstring volume was significantly associated with lower odds of total knee replacement. Higher volumes of hamstrings and gracilis, a long, thin muscle on the inside of the thigh, were also linked to lower odds of knee replacement.

Training programmes that strengthen the quads in relation to the hamstrings could be beneficial for people with advanced arthritis in the knee to avoid knee replacement. Such strengthening exercises can also help people without osteoarthritis prevent future knee problems.