NEW research from Monash University has found cholesterol-lowering medications, known as statins, can slow the progression of osteoarthritis related knee damage.
Participants with healthier knee joints were less likely to develop bone marrow lesions, often an early indicator of knee abnormalities associated with pain and joint damage.
The results of the randomised placebo-controlled trial have now been published in the American College of Rheumatology journal.
Lead author and rheumatologist Flavia Cicuttini said that statins were commonly used to prevent conditions such as atherosclerosis - a condition caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries.
This can result in heart attacks, strokes and also in damage to knee joints through reduced blood supply.
"Based on the findings from the healthier subgroup in our trial, it may be that the widespread use of statins in the management of cardiovascular disease is also having a benefit on knees by protecting them from knee joint damage," Professor Cicuttini said.
"Often knee pain can be a warning sign of other potential health issues.
"If you're experiencing knee pain, then see your GP. Get your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol checked.
"Having knee pain can be an opportunity to do a health check that will benefit knees, as well as general health since those with osteoarthritis, are at twice the risk of heart disease."
Knee osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain in those aged over 40. There is currently no treatment to slow its progression so as their condition worsens, patients may require knee replacements.
To read the full paper click HERE