Many people have suffered from knee pain at least once in their life, while some suffer more frequently from knee osteoarthritis (OA). In an attempt to prevent faster knee degeneration, many people mistakenly avoid high impact activities for their knees - most frequently running.
Interestingly, however, running may in fact have quite the opposite effect on our knees. The repeated impact on our knees while running has actually been found to be beneficial! Repeated stress applied to the bones and cartilage in the knee (such as with running) creates tiny micro-tears, to which our body naturally responds by strengthening and solidifying our tissues. Research has demonstrated that recreational running decreases the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knees and hips (1).
However, the jury is still out on the effects of running for those already afflicted by osteoarthritis, . While it was previously thought that running may worsen symptoms, a recent research study suggests the opposite (2). While this may be good news for arthritis-afflicted runners, further research is needed.
So with this wave of beautiful weather approaching, we hope that you’ll be encouraged to take up running this year! If you ran the previous years, take a minute to read our post about getting back in the swing of things this summer without injuring yourself.
1. The Association of Recreational and Competitive Running With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Eduard Alentorn-Geli, Kristian Samuelsson, Volker Musahl, Cynthia L. Green, Mohit Bhandari, and Jón Karlsson. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (2017) 47:6, 373-3902.
2. Running does not increase symptoms or structural progression in people with knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. Lo, G.H., Musa, S.M., Driban, J.B. et al. Clin Rheumatol (2018) 37: 2497. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-018-4121-3
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