Fighting Knee Arthritis – A guide for Sports People

By in Health & Fitness, People & Places

Friday 27th October 2017

By Oliver Eaton, ProHealth Clinic

Many sports people, from weekend enthusiasts to professional athletes find themselves suffering from knee arthritis. And they are not alone. Knee arthritis affects over 4million people each year in the UK – and according to Arthritis UK that number is rising all the time. Arthritis occurs due to the breakdown of cartilage and its inability to repair and regenerate efficiently. As the cartilage wears down, the gap between the bones narrows, causing the bones to begin to rub and form bony spurs (osteophytes). The knee joint also has an inner layer called the synovium, which can thicken and result in excess fluid building up, creating pressure in the knee. This adds to the pain already caused by the friction of the bones rubbing.

Research has shown that nutrition, lifestyle, body alignment and our environment has more impact than genes on our likelihood to suffer from arthritis. The three most studied weapons against the advent and progression of knee osteoarthritis are: exercise, nutrition and wearing correct footwear. Exercise can help slow the progression of arthritis and stabilise your body weight. Cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply so it’s only way to absorb nutrition and keep healthy is through movement. Walking helps maintain the health of your knees, hips and ankles. Although it’s essential to wear the right footwear. Aquatic (water) exercises are also great; the water reduces the pressure on your knees whilst providing the resistance for your muscles to build strength.

Vitamins C and D promote cartilage development and health. Vitamin C strengthens cartilage and helps to reduce inflammation, while vitamin D helps prevent cartilage from breaking down. Omega-3 fatty acids should be an essential part of a diet for a sufferer of knee arthritis as they help to decrease inflammation by suppressing chemicals that break down cartilage. Ginger, cinnamon and turmeric have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Take them in food or as supplements. Antioxidants help to protect the body by destroying free radicals before they cause damage the cartilage in joints. Beta-carotene and bioflavonoids are powerful anti-oxidants.


The majority of x-rays of arthritic knees show only one side of the knee is affected by cartilage wear. This is because poor alignment of the ankles and feet change the angle of the knee, causing an individual to carry their body weight more on to one side of the knee, eventually causing it to wear down.  Wearing supportive shoes and orthotics that keep the foot and ankle in proper alignment can considerably reduce pain and swelling. This applies to your day-to-day life as well as while you are taking part in sport. Many sports put a lot of pressure on the knees so look for footwear that will give you shock absorption; arch support; and ankle support. And always keep the heels low.

While osteoarthritis in the knees can be a very debilitating condition, it is important to remember that there are plenty of things you can do to improve the condition and fend off its progression.


Oliver Eaton is a qualified and registered osteopath, Medical Acupuncturist and Musculoskeletal Injection Therapist. He specialises in the treatment of arthritis and headaches/migraines with patients all over the UK and Europe. Much of Oliver’s specialities were learnt through personal experience; suffering from a series of chronic conditions from which he made a full recovery using alternative medicine approaches. This sparked his passion for specialising in the treatment of patients with chronic pain. At 28 years old Oliver is one of the youngest Harley Street clinic owners, achieving results with patients who have previously had no success with some of the top medical consultants in the country.