UMEM Educational Pearls

A recent study attempted to investigate the relationship between a history of strength training with symptomatic and structural findings of knee osteoarthritis (OA). 

For comparison, previous studies have shown that duration of football participation increases risk of radiographic knee OA.

Methods: Retrospective, cross-sectional multicenter study

2,607 participants without OA. Community population. 44% male. Mean age 64.3 years. Mean BMI 28.5.

Strength training (via self-administered questionnaire) defined as those exposed (n=1789 ) and not exposed (n=818). If exposed, groups were divided into low, medium and high.

Outcomes were 1) Radiographic OA. 2) Symptomatic radiographic OA. 3) Frequent knee pain

Results: Strength training at any point in life vs no strength training was associated with lower incidence of all outcome measures:

Odds ratio1) 0.82, 2) 0.83 and 3) 0.77. 

Conclusions: Strength training is beneficial for future knee health

However, when separated by groups (low, medium and high), only the high-exposure group had significantly reduced odds of less frequent radiographic OA, symptomatic radiographic OA, and frequent knee pain.

Findings were similar for different age ranges

The association between strength training and less frequent radiographic OA, symptomatic radiographic OA, and frequent knee pain was strongest in the older age groups.


Lo GH, et al. Strength Training Is Associated With Less Knee Osteoarthritis: Data From the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2024 Mar;76(3):377-383.