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Arthropathy and sport…which one?

Arthrosis is a chronic condition which causes the degeneration and progressive deterioration of cartilage around the joints. It mainly affects the joints of the hip, knee, spinal column, hands and feet.

This disorder worsens in direct proportion to age. From their thirties onwards, sufferers begin to undergo structural changes to their joints. Scientific-research figures based on X-rays tell us that 80% of those aged over 65 have modifications from arthrosis, even when individuals are asymptomatic. As the years pass by, there is a gradual reduction in the cellularity of joint cartilage (oxidative damage to the bone).

Mechanical factors play an important role in the advancement of the disease. For instance, with genu valgum (knock knees), there is a narrowing of joint space laterally and a widening medially. On the other hand, in a varus knee (bow legs), there is a widening of the joint space laterally and a narrowing medially.

So, before you start any sports activities, make sure you follow a few simple rules for the sake of your body:

  1. avoid exacerbating the situation by putting excessive strain on parts of the body or joints that are already inflamed
  2. avoid repeated strain on the main joints: ankles, knees and hips
  3. familiarise yourself with the kind of sport you want to do, but particularly make sure you know which joints will be stressed
  4. if you have numbed the pain with painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs or injections, sports activities must be avoided at all costs.


We need to get the basics right if sports activities are to be enjoyed without apprehension. To start with, we should be using proper stable protective footwear fitted with the Well-Walk biomechanical outsole and enhanced with orthotic insoles which rebalance plantar pressure. Alternatively, in the case of a genu valgum or varus knee, we should be looking for a “decompressive” solution.

Ordinarily, when we are walking, our joints bear more than about 1/3 of our body weight, whereas during sports activities (like running), this can be one and a half times or twice our own weight.

In the advanced stages of the disease, pain and the inability to move normally will make it impossible to carry extra weight.

In which case, we are better off exercising in the pool where the water will allow us to move our joints without the burden of our own body weight. But swimming will still improve muscle tone, act positively on the venous system and burn up calories, which is extremely important and will have a protective effect on our joints.