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If you love squash or tennis but your knees don’t, listen to your knees, not your heart

Disclaimer here: I have had 3 cartilage “repair” procedures although to be fair, they didn’t actually repair anything, they just remove the damaged tissue.

To the credit of my very excellent surgeons whom I might need once again some day, so I really don’t want to throw shade their way, I quickly have to add that no one has yet figured out how to repair cartilage so the best my healers could do was to take the broken stuff out of the joints.

Now the point here is that those procedures have left me significantly more at risk for osteoarthritis (OA), although thankfully OA seems to have not yet become a problem for me, in part because being overweight is a huge risk factor for worsening OA and after my last procedure, I went out and lost 15 pounds, which I have managed to keep off in respect for my knees (and heart, and esophagus, and blood pressure, insulin, and . . . ).

Anyway, the other point to raise here is that I love to play squash with my wife (when we can manage it), and I have always worried that squash – with its starts and stops and sudden changes of direction (all of which my wife does much more than me mainly cuz she’s so much better – and way way more competitive – at this game than I am) would raise my risk of OA even more.

So the good news for me is that according to a recent study of 415 individuals which was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, my weight loss was a good preventive against OA.

Or put another way, if you’re overweight and you play racket sports, you have a good chance of OA developing and progressing, even more, according to this study, than you would have if you were overweight and chose boring elliptical trainers as your favorite way to save your knees but still try to keep fit.

These researchers also say that if you love to play racket sports and don’t really want to give it up, you might also want to consider “making modifications . . . such as switching to sports with less fast-paced and high shear loads like badminton or doubles tennis.”

I guess they never saw my wife play badminton.

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