Dietary Fibre Reduces Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis

This month a fascinating report was published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. It was a collaborative study between Tufts University (Boston) and the University of Manchester. Dai et al looked into the link between dietary fibre and knee osteoarthritis (OA). They used data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (4796 participants) and the Framingham Offspring Osteoarthritis Study (1268 participants). The first group was followed for 4 years and the second group was reassessed after 9 years. The findings consistently showed that higher total fibre intake was related to a lower risk of symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (pain, stiffness, and swelling). It was unclear whether fibre had an effect on the result of knee x-rays.

The authors note that “there is increasing evidence suggesting that OA shares similar metabolic characteristics including obesity, dyslipidaemia and inflammation with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes”. Clinical trials have already shown the beneficial effect of dietary fibre on reducing body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and in reducing circulating C reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). Increasing our intake of fibre can help improve musculoskeletal problems in addition to bettering our overall health. Fibre can be found in cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.

Low Level Physical Activity Benefits Knee Osteoarthritis


It’s well known that increasing the time spent doing moderate intensity physical activities has wide ranging benefits on health. Guidelines recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. What about those unable to engage in moderate or vigorous physical activities due to health issues? Could light physical activity work too?

A study by professor Dunlop et al. looked at the effects of physical activity in people with knee osteoarthritis or risk factors for knee osteoarthritis. As well as finding benefits to moderate activity, they found that spending more time doing light intensity physical activities reduced the risk of onset and progression of disability due to osteoarthritis. They concluded that “an increase in daily physical activity time may reduce the risk of disability, even if the intensity of that additional activity is not increased.”